Monday, October 19, 2009

Love Field

Today, if you fly into Dallas, you probably will arrive at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which is the third–busiest airport in the world in aircraft movement and the seventh–busiest in passengers.

With the exception of a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when commercial airlines were grounded, it is a rare experience for someone to scan the skies over Dallas and not see a plane landing at or departing from DFW.

But before DFW, as it is known locally, opened for business in 1974, the airport serving Dallas was Love Field, which opened on this day in 1917. It was probably unknown to most Americans until Nov. 22, 1963, when John F. Kennedy and his entourage arrived there and embarked on the motorcade that ended with Kennedy's fatal shooting.

The reception of the crowd at Love Field, like that of the city's residents along the motorcade route into downtown Dallas, was friendly and offered no hint of the horror that was to come. In the years that followed, Love Field was seldom mentioned, except as the place where Air Force One landed on that fateful day.

As the years passed, Love Field probably faded from memory outside of north Texas. It was revived in the public memory in the early 1990s when its name was used as the title of an independent film starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert (you may not recognize Haysbert's name, but, in recent years, he has been the spokesman for Allstate in its TV commercials).

Love Field is still in operation, but most major airlines land and depart from DFW. Primarily, Love Field serves business travelers making day trips. Its future probably is uncertain.

But its spot in American history is secure.

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