Public Memorial

Dallas has tight security plans for 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination

Dallas has tight security plans for 50th anniversary of JFK's death

Dealey Plaza in Dallas
The public memorial will have standing-room-only space for 5,000 people at Dealey Plaza. Photo by Raul Santillan
Japanese hot dog
A view of Downtown Dallas from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Pinterest.com
T Swirl Crepe
The Sixth Floor Museum offers sweeping views of Dallas. Photo courtesy of T Swirl Crepe
Mayor Mike Rawlings speaks at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
Mayor Mike Rawlings addresses the media at a press conference announcing the ticketing process for the 50th anniversary of JFK's death. Photo by Claire St. Amant
Dealey Plaza in Dallas
Japanese hot dog
T Swirl Crepe
Mayor Mike Rawlings speaks at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Security concerns are top of mind as Dallas prepares to host a public memorial for the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November. The free ticketing process, which will include police background checks, opened at 11 am June 20 and will close July 31. 

Anyone over the age of 18 can request up to two tickets online, and all attendees must be at least 12 years old. Only those who are selected through a random computer algorithm will undergo a security clearance screening. Those who are awarded tickets will be notified October 1.

 "If we see anything that we think raises an alarm on any issue, then we're not going to give them tickets," said Mayor Mike Rawlings at a press conference.

At a press conference announcing the ticketing process, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said attendees cannot have a history of violent crimes or extremist ties. 

"If we see anything that we think raises an alarm on any issue, then we're not going to give them tickets," said Rawlings, adding that he recognized this was a very cautious approach to the public ticketing process. "We'd rather err on the conservative side."

The public memorial will have standing-room-only space for 5,000 people at Dealey Plaza, the site of Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963. Official viewing parties with large screens carrying a live stream of the event will be set up around Dallas, including at Victory Park. 

Rawlings said that local Dallas-Fort Worth residents will get priority access to tickets, and that 25 percent of the allotment has been set aside for people outside of the city, state and country. 

The mayor said he's already heard from people across the world who are interested in attending the memorial. Although the city wants to accommodate as many people as it can, the primary purpose is to provide a safe event for locals. 

"This is a chance for the citizens of Dallas and Dallas County to pay their homage to the great presidency of President John F. Kennedy," Rawlings said. "There's no question in a post 9/11-world ... that our vigilance in responding to public safety should take precedence in all matters."