joy magnetism: The advance agent of prosperity

@Joymagnetism, now on Instagram!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The advance agent of prosperity

Magnet #562 - William McKinley (1897-1901)

There's a book I read in fourth grade that I've seriously been trying to track down forever - a little mass-market called The Last Cow on the White House Lawn, and Other Little-Known Facts about the Presidency. Of course, now Amazon has it listed. Of course.

I know it's out of date now, but I must have read that thing cover to cover a few times, because half of the presidential factoids and half-a-facts (/tm David Tennant) in my head come from that book, or others just like it.

One story I've always remembered is the one about William McKinley, our 25th president, who was shot twice today, in 1901. Several days later, he became one of our four assassinated presidents. (Lincoln, Garfield, and Kennedy - in case you were trying to remember.)

Elected as the "advance agent of prosperity," his administration was credited with helping get America out of a recession. Shortly into his second term, McKinley was at the Pan-American Exposition up in Buffalo (a world's fair type deal), in for just a couple of receptions and a military review. Supposedly, his secretary was worried about the security risks, and totally didn't want the president out and about. But Mac was like, nu-uh, who's gonna get me.

Anarchist Leon Czolgosz, that's who.

But that's not what I remember about McKinley's assassination - and it's odd that none of the wikis mention the below but if you dig deeper, it pops up in most every other write-up, including first-hand remarks:

It's said that McKinley he used to always wear a flower on his lapel, supposedly for good luck. At the Pan, there was a little girl who had been in line to meet him. Apparently, she was supersweet, and asked for something to remember him by, and the president removed his good luck charm from his lapel and pinned it on her shirt.

Not two people after her was the shooter, Czolgosz, hiding his gun in his handkerchief, waiting his turn to greet the president.

It's weird what the mind retains, because while I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday, in my head, I can totally picture the accompanying illustration of the president leaning down to give the little girl his pink carnation, with the guy waiting in line, hiding the gun. Freaky.
Pin It!


Your Nose Is Quite Big said...

I just cried for William McKinley, giving his good luck charm pin away to a little girl just because. Sniffle.

joy said...

I didn't mention how I'm a little bit surprised that the little girl actually had the temerity to *ask* for it. Heh. Although, I wonder what it was like to be that little girl growing up. Heh.