College students across the country are commemorating the 50th anniversary of JFK's death.

54 33 LINKEDIN 2 COMMENTMORE

Although many of their parents aren't even old enough to remember President John F. Kennedy's assassination, college students across the country are commemorating the 50th anniversary of his death.

Many older Americans can remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of the shooting. Today's college students may not have been alive on Nov 22, 1963, but museum exhibits and ceremonies planned for Friday will remind students of the meaning the event still has today.

At Philadelphia University, students have the opportunity to relive the day of Kennedy's assassination at the "Single Bullet: Arlen Specter & the Warren Commission Investigation of the JFK Assassination" exhibit.

University President Stephen Spinelli Jr. says students decided to focus on the controversy over the number of shooters involved in JFK's death.

Visitors are able to examine evidence the Warren Commission — a government committee that investigated Kennedy's death — collected about the assassination and then draw their own conclusions about what happened that historic day.

The collection was donated to the university by Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, who served on the Warren Commission.

Spinelli said Specter strongly believed only Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the shooting, calling his stance "the single bullet conclusion" rather than the "single bullet theory," as others called it.

Students designed a life-size model of the limousine the president was riding in when he was shot at Dealey Plaza. Visitors are able to sit in the rear seat of the vehicle where the president was sitting and observe computer monitors that show where the bullets would have hit.

"It took it from a sterile fact into a personal experience for them," Spinelli says.

Robert Garcia, a fifth-year architecture student at Philadelphia University, helped build the car for the exhibit. Garcia said before working on the project, his only exposure to the Kennedy assassination was in middle school and high school classes.

Garcia says he was able to connect to how "old folks" who came through the exhibit remember time stopping in 1963 when they heard the news because of his own childhood memories of 9/11.

The New Jersey native says the assassination matters to Millennials because of how Kennedy's death might have impacted the Cold War.

"It could have started World War III," the 22-year-old says. "I might not have even been born in that case."

At Alabama State University, students will recognize the anniversary with a candle-lighting calling for an end to gun violence.

University spokesman Kenneth Mullinax says students will play an important role in the ceremony, with the president of the student government acting as master of ceremonies.

He explains that the university's event Friday has a dual purpose: to remind students of the rights they take for granted that Kennedy helped guarantee, and to remind them of a continued need for an end to gun violence.

"The same senseless gun violence that took the life of President Jack Fitzgerald Kennedy has taken the lives of so many people," Mullinax says. "We want to bring recognition to the fact that gun violence has escalated since Nov. 22, 1963."

Several universities will host exhibits or screenings to commemorate the event.

Kennedy's alma mater, Harvard University, will screen the documentaryLetters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy this week.

Baylor University, which hosts one of the largest collections about the life of President Kennedy, will host remembrances at a special 50th anniversary exhibit about the president's life on Friday.

The University of Nevada also unveiled a new exhibit about journalists covering the assassination.

Cat Zakrzewski is a junior at Northwestern University.

54 33 LINKEDIN 2 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1caaRff