Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Back from my conference in Texas– very productive, saw some very interesting presentations and met up with colleagues from all over the world. I didn’t have much time for touring, but what I saw of Dallas was nice: had some tex-mex and visited the 6th Floor Museum. ┬áThe Museum chronicles the life and death of John F. Kennedy. It’s a bit embarrassing– I didn’t make the connection between the “Dallas” where my conference would be and the “Dallas” where JFK was shot and killed until our waitress recommend the museum as a must do.

I was amazed how iconic I found the Texas School Book Depository to be– I recognized it immediately, blocks away, as we walked toward the museum. And the grassy knoll! It’s just there, looking exactly the same as the photographs (although the grass wasn’t in great shape). ┬áThe museum was incredibly moving. The exhibit walks you through Kennedy’s life, the campaign, election, politics and crises of the first years of his presidency… and then all of a sudden the pace of the timeline slows and you are guided, frame-by-frame, through the events of that day: the news paper articles announcing the visit, the itinerary and purpose of the Texas trip, photos of the arrival in Dallas on Air Force One, invitations to galas, stills from that single, solitary film as they took the hair pin turn, passed the Book Depository and the knoll, JFK falling forward, Jackie crawling over the trunk of the car, speeding to the hospital, lay outs of the hospital, an original print out from the AP tele-text machine, and then suddenly you are standing in the corner where the gunman knelt and then shot and killed the President. Wow. To experience it minute by minute. Wow.

Well, back to the present day– I was very grateful that I had scheduled another week in WI after the conference. Most of my European colleagues are stranded in Texas or in their connecting cities until further notice. Oh man, how terrible for so many stranded travelers! I’m so thankful I have a comfortable and homey place to stay. And poor Iceland! It’s surely been a tough couple of years for them.

This whole air-travel debacle is really enhancing the sense of distance between Amsterdam and me. I am not feeling very optimistic about my return trip next week. But even more so I realize how dependent I am on the ability to quickly travel between the United States and Europe. So many of my family, friends and work colleagues are here in the US! And an increasing proportion of my family, friends and work colleagues are in Europe. The decision to divide my life with an ocean was very much contingent upon easy air-travel. And clearly that is not something to take for granted.


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