Friday, September 6, 2013


September 6, 2013


Buffalo, New York (JFK+50) President William McKinley was shot 112 years ago today, September 6, 1901, as he was shaking hands with the public in the Temple of Music at the Pan American Exposition here in Buffalo.

The President had been shaking hands for about 10 minutes when the would-be assassin fired twice at point blank range.

The man, who was taken into custody immediately after the shooting, was identified as an anarchist named Leon Czolgosz.

According to James M. McPherson, Czolgosz...

"reflected the anomie and class hatred suffering the urban industrial world of the late 19th century.  (He) was an unemployed millworker (who) drifted through the industrial cities of the Midwest, reading anarchist newspapers and adopting the revealing name of Fred Nieman--literally "nobody."

         President McKinley Is Shot
  Sketch by T. Dart Walker (1905)

Czolgosz, who stood in a long reception line,  had concealed a pistol under a handkerchief wrapped around his hand as if bandaged.

It was 4:07 p.m. when he fired the pistol point blank at the President.

After the shooting, blood appeared on McKinley's shirt and he said...
 "Am I shot?"  

Mr. McKinley then told people around him...

"My wife, be careful about her. Don't let her know."

The President was taken to the hospital where doctors determined that one of the bullets caused a superficial wound while another bullet passed through the abdomen lodging in the back. 

Doctors were unable to locate or remove the second bullet.

Czolgosz was asked why he had shot the President.  

He answered... 

"I killed the President because I done my duty.  I didn't believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none."*

James McPherson writes...

"McKinley was a transitional man, straddling the Americas of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  He was felled by a product of the social anomie that came with mass, industrialized, urban society:  the world of the century to come."

                           Leon Czolgosz

*McKinley's condition gradually improved but on September 12 it began to quickly deteriorate and the President died on September 14 at 2:15 a.m. The convicted assassin was electrocuted on October 29.

                        Temple of Music
              Pan American Exposition
                     Buffalo, New York
                Photo by C.D. Arnold

           Site of the Temple of Music
                     Buffalo, New York


"To the Best of My Ability: The American Presidents," by James M. McPherson, Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., New York, 2001.


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy presented the Distinguished Service Medal to Air Force General Emmett O'Donnell** in the Flower Garden at the White House 50 years ago today, September 6, 1963.

The President said...

"We wish to honor one of the most distinguished careers in the history of the USAF.  General O'Donnell is widely and affectionately known in the Air Force and throughout all the Armed Forces of our country--a distinguished record in WWII...and in the Korean war.

The Pacific has been his home, and the air over the Pacific has been, in a sense, his domain.

The country is most indebted to him.  General we are glad to have you here, and we thank you."

           General Emmett O'Donnell, Jr.
            Photo by W. A. Skelton (1959)
                            NARA Image

**General Emmett E. "Rosie" O'Donnell, Jr. (1906-1971) was born in Brooklyn, NY and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1928.  

He began his military career the following year, led the 1st B-29 attack on Tokyo in WWII and was Commander in Chief of the Pacific Air Forces from 1959-1963. 

General O'Donnell was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.


"The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy, 1963," United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1964.