That’s right — I am everywhere and nowhere, in the Generic Airport Concourse Zone, where the gates and walkways and vendors all look precisely the same, indistinguishable in their drab sameness. It is a temporary, soulless, transitory place, suitable only for moving on.
This particular outpost of the GACZ is at DFW. And like every exposure to the GACZ, this one has only one benefit — it makes home feel even more like heaven.
I’m in Fort Worth, Texas for meetings and spent last night at the Fort Worth Hilton because it’s close to the meeting location. When I learned the hotel also is the site of John F. Kennedy’s last speech, it gave me a chill.
JFK spoke here on the morning of November 22, 1963, at a breakfast meeting of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce. For a man who was a forceful orator and turned many a memorable phrase, the speech is a thoroughly unremarkable effort, with a standard joke about Jackie Kennedy’s celebrity status, recognition of the politicians and dignitaries who were present, and then a discussion of Fort Worth’s contribution to the continuing need to maintain a strong defense against the Communist threat. The speech, of course, gave no hint that the history of the country and the world would shift forever a few hours later due to an assassin’s bullet.
There is a little plaza next to the hotel that commemorates the occasion with a statue of JFK, some photos, and some quotes from his speeches. One of them is: “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”. With the red brick hotel looming in the background, it’s a sobering place.