President McKinley Gave Away His Lucky Charm And Was Assassinated

Grace Higgins | March 16th, 2019

Not everyone is into superstition, and even fewer people believe in lucky charms or voodoo spells. Definitely, in this modern day and age, society has a tendency to champion science over superstitious traditions that are seen as the old ways. But during 1887 when William Mckinley was a young man, lucky charms were all the rage.

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Early in his political career, he won debate after having received a red carnation boutonniere to wear during the conference. McKinley went on to win the debate and then was elected into the House of Congress. This cemented his idea that this flower was indeed a lucky charm looking over him. He began to wear it during all his election cycles, never being seen without it on an important day. And when in 1896 he won the presidential election he began to wear it all the time, even keeping a whole barrel of them in his Oval Office to gift visitors. In fact, the red carnation flower started to become a symbol of his supporters.

Sometimes though he would also even gift people the flower he was wearing, though he would immediately replace it. Because of course while not wearing the flower, McKinley believed he no longer had the lucky charm’s protection.

In 1901, a couple of months after his second term started, he was in Buffalo. There was a huge Pan-American exposition going on and to have the president visible during the conference meant a great deal to the attendees. As he was greeted by the public and talking to the crowd, he was approached by a 12-year-old girl named Myrtle Ledger.

I must give this flower to another little flower

That was President McKinley’s famous last words, he gave away his lucky charm. Just a couple of minutes later, his assassin walked up and greeted him. The president was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz and then died the following week. The scarlet coronation is now an official state symbol in Ohio after President McKinley.

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