One of the most frequently asked questions of what is known as the “baby boomer” generation (those individuals born in the years following WWII from 1946 to 1964) is “Where were you when President Kennedy was shot?”
For at least one Rush County resident, David Lanning, he is well aware of where he was the day of Nov. 22, 1963.
That fateful day, which in many people’s eyes changed the course of American history forever, Lanning was an eighth grade student at Graham Junior High School in Rushville. As fortune would have it, he was ill that day and stayed home from school and was watching television when the first news bulletin of the President being shot crossed the screen.
“I was watching ‘As the World Turns’ with my mother when the first new bulletin came across the television. Back in those days, when a new bulletin scrolled across the bottom of the television, the first thought was that something bad had happened because we had just lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis. Walter Cronkite came on television and said the President had been shot,” Lanning said.
Since that day nearly 50-years ago, Lanning has been fascinated with Kennedy, his death, the events that led him to the presidency and beyond. For half a century, Lanning has collected more than 500 items on the Kennedy assassination and that is not counting what he estimates to be more than 1,000 additional items related to the brief Kennedy administration, individual news articles and campaign buttons to name a few items contained in his collection.
“When Kennedy was shot, it affected our entire family in a very profound way. I remember my mother crying all through the funeral a few days later and it (the loss of our President) effected me personally too. No event since and that includes the event of 9-11-2001 have affected me more than the Kennedy assassination. It was such a tragic event - it shook the nation and I don’t think we have fully recovered to this day,” Lanning said.