Recently Lanning loaned the Rushville Public Library a number of pieces of his collection and they are displayed in the library entrance display case. Contained in the display are a number of newspapers from around the country the day of the assassination and the following days, along with books on the event and some very personal items as well. One of Lannings’ most prized items of memorabilia is a thank you card from then First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy addressed to the Lanning family. The items will remain on display until the end of the month.
In looking back, Lanning said his perception is that Rushville handled the Presidential death like every other small town across the country.
“Anywhere you went is was a solemn occasion. When we went back to school, it was all we talked about in class. It hit everyone and to this day, I firmly believe that Kennedy’s death may have changed the course of history in America as we know it today.”
When asked about how the Presidents death is perceived today, Lanning is concerned that the current generation of youth does not fully understand and fathom the depth of despair the country was in following Nov. 22, 1963. That was followed by a second shock two days later when accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby.
When asked his thoughts on the Warren Commission Report that Oswald acted alone, Lanning like many other Americans’ has his doubts and is not so convinced.
Lanning said he is happy to share his collection with others for historical reasons and hopes that people will visit the library in the coming days to view as he puts it the tip of the iceberg of his collection.
“I think about that day (11-22-1963) frequently and how it changed, not just our lives here in middle America, but throughout the world. It was much like the President Lincoln assassination although the media had a major impact on getting the information of President Kennedy’s death out all over the world,” Lanning said.