JFK GeoTrail - A Day in Dallas
This geocache is part of a 14 cache GeoTrail series. To complete the GeoTrail, visit the website at http://www.jfk50geotrail.com and download the Passport. You will need to take the Passport with you to each cache and be ready to write, punch, or stamp the appropriate markings that are hidden in each cache. Once complete, follow the instructions to receive your commemorative token.
Parkland Hospital Emergency Department
Parkland Hospital is the main county hospital for Dallas County residents. It is funded largely by county property taxes. The hospital opened in 1894, and moved to its present location in 1954. While the facility continues growing at a rapid pace, the facade of the emergency department has not changed a bit since President Kennedy arrived there from Dealey Plaza. Parking on the street below and walking up the hill along the semi-circular entrance road, visitors are greeted by the very same view that was shown on television sets across the country on November 22, 1963.
Parkland then . . .
and Parkland now.
Other than the new lettering, the building is still easily recognizable as it was in 1963.
Immediately after President Kennedy was shot, he was whisked northwards up I-35. The limousine sped right past the Trade Mart, where some of the luncheon crowd awaiting his arrival, looked on curiously as the President's vehicle didn't pull into the entrance but quickly drove on past. While Vice President Lyndon Johnson's driver initially drove to the hospital by a different route to avoid the possibility of additional trouble, the President was taken straight to Parkland where he was carried to Trauma Room 1. On the trip, both Jackie Kennedy and the Secret Service agent in the back of the car, noted the gruesomeness of the scene, and that the President could only lay limp in the back seat with his eyes wide open. The famous video footage of Jackie climbing back onto the trunk right after the final shot while still on Elm Street, documents the bizarre vision of her retrieving a large portion of the President's skull. As horrible as this was, she gave this and some contiguous matter to the doctors as soon as they arrived to the hospital.
The press cars speed out of Dealey Plaza to catch up with the Presidential limousine as it speeds towards Parkland.
Upon reaching Parkland, the President had essentially bled out from his head wound. He had no blood pressure upon arrival. Other than brain stem mediated agonal repiratory sounds, and a single instance where a doctor believed that he found a pulse in one leg, the President had no signs of life upon arrival. With the severity of his injuries, saving his life was not possible, even with today's medical technology.
Although there are separate definitions for clinical death, legal death, and religious death, President Kennedy was unconscious as soon as the bullet hit him in the head, such that he never knew he had been hit, and for all practical purposes, was no longer living long before reaching Parkland. The nation was fixed to their television sets and transistor radios waiting for word of President Kennedy's condition from the moment they found out that he had been shot. While the gunfire occurred around 12:30, it took until 1pm until he reached Parkland and resuscitative efforts were abandoned and he was pronounced dead. The news media waited until this announcement to tell the nation. Even though several eyewitnesses very close to the limousine during the gunfire described catastrophic injuries to the President, the news media and the nation was still stunned at the announcement. The President was dead.
Walter Cronkite has trouble putting words together to tell the nation that their President was dead. Words didn't seem enough.
Jackie Kennedy left Parkland in a hearse. After landing in Washington, D.C., as pictured here, she is headed for yet another. Notice that she is still wearing the same pink dress and hose from earlier in the day. She is covered in blood, having only washed her hands and face after the horror. She said at Parkland, "look what they did to my Jack."
Trauma room one, where President Kennedy was treated, no longer exists due to renovations within the building, but a plaque inside the emergency radiology waiting area commemorates the event. This area is not open to the general public, but only to patients and their families.
Texas Governor John Connelly was evaluated and treated in Trauma Room 2, until he was then transported to the operating suites for surgery. His condition was not updated until the following morning. Upon Vice President Johnson's arrival to Parkland to check on the President after the shooting, he was so ashen and shaken that several news reporters reported that he may have suffered a heart attack after being in the line of fire. This was soon proven to be false.
Two days after President Kennedy came to Parkland, Lee Harvey Oswald was admitted through the very same doors, where he died in surgery after Jack Ruby shot him in the abdomen. Two years later still serving time in prison awaiting a re-trial, Jack Ruby died in Parkland's Emergency Department from complications resulting from lung cancer.
A good deal of stealth is required for this find. The cache is out in the open, but not readily visible (that's a contradiction that only a geocacher would understand). You may have better luck signing the log and discovering the Passport code somewhere other than right where you retrieve it.