Saturday, September 6, 2014



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

President Kennedy said...

"We wish to honor one of the most distinguished careers in the history of the United States Air Force.

General O'Donnell (has) 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. 

The General 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.


Buffalo, New York (JFK+50) 113 years ago today, September 6, 1901, President William McKinley was shot 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.

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.

When 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."*

 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


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