Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beyond Dealey Plaza, law officers honor Tippit, and crowds follow Oswald’s trail

by ROY APPLETON / The Dallas Morning News

Marie Tippit, widow of slain Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, addressed Texas police officers Friday during a ceremony for the family at Dallas Police Association Headquarters. [DMN Photo/Nathan Hunsinger]

Dealey Plaza wasn’t the only commemoration scene in town Friday.

Police officers and others gathered Friday night with the family of J.D. Tippit to honor the Dallas patrolman slain by Lee Harvey Oswald less than an hour after the assassination of President Kennedy.

A crowd at Dallas Police Association headquarters celebrated the officer’s life and service with words, music and candlelight.

“It blesses me to see all of you here and know you care about our family and what happened here 50 years ago,” said Marie Tippit, the officer’s widow.

At his burial, Tippit’s widow did not receive an honorary flag. Before kneeling to present her one Friday night, Police Chief David Brown told the crowd: “Today would not be complete without our remembering the sacrifice of the Tippit family. We will not forget.”

Earlier in the day, people flocked to 1026 N. Beckley Ave., paying owner Pat Hall $20 for recollections, history and a look inside the house where Oswald was living on Nov. 22, 1963.

Candlelight vigil. [DMN Photo/Nathan Hunsinger]

“I did 42 tours yesterday by myself,” Hall said.Oswald returned to his bedroom about 1 p.m. that deadly day, grabbed a jacket and handgun and left. At 1 p.m. Friday, five tourists were standing inside the living room, including Brent Lyons, in from Illinois for his eighth assassination exploration this year.

“That’s why I’m here,” he said of the precise timing. “I didn’t get a ticket for Dealey Plaza.” But he got a photograph of Oswald’s bed.

About 1:15 p.m., Tippit stopped Oswald walking near 10th Street and Patton Avenue. Oswald gunned down the officer and fled.

Minutes after 1:15 p.m. Friday, David Sparks and his son, Adam, stood in front of the Tippit historical marker after walking from 1026 N. Beckley.

“It took us 12 minutes,” said Adam, explaining why they were out on a cold, rainy day. “It’s the 50th anniversary. Where else would we be?”

Next stop, the Texas Theatre, where Dallas police arrested Oswald about 1:45 p.m. after a scuffle. David and Adam Sparks continued their walk, while their wives drove.

At 1:45 p.m. Friday, the Sparks family was among 132 people in the theater watching War Is Hell, the movie showing when Oswald was taken away. This time no police or interruptions, but plenty of beer and popcorn.

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