A Nation’s Loss
On the afternoon of
the following day, September 6, the President held a public reception
in the Temple of Music. While receiving he stood on the platform
in front of the great organ, on the east side of the building.
President Milburn, of the Exposition,
was at his right and was introducing the people. Secretary Cortelyou
was at his left, and all about him were secret service officers,
who were there for the purpose of preventing any disaster, but who
little dreamed that an assassin was to approach in the guise of
The building was crowded, and outside
were hundreds of people waiting to take the hand of their beloved
In the midst of all this joy and gladness
a pistol shot was distinctly heard above the hum of voices which
filled the room. There was a moment of silence, and then it was
 discovered that it was President
McKinley at whom the shot was fired.
Immediately there was great commotion,
and had it not been for the agonized plea, “Let no one hurt him!”
the assassin might have met a violent death then and there.
The stricken President was at once
taken to the Exposition hospital and his wound examined. It was
thought to be dangerous, yet there was hope. Thence a few hours
later he was removed to the Milburn home, where he had been a guest
of honor since coming to the city. Here sorrowing friends hastily
gathered from all parts of the country, and here the stricken one,
beloved by an entire nation, honored by the intelligent and good
all over the world, lingered until the morning of the 14th, when
he passed peacefully away. His last words were, “It is God’s way.
His will be done.”
During those days of watchfulness
and anxiety everything that love could prompt and skill devise was
done with the hope that the exalted sufferer might be restored to
So great were the hopes of the Nation
that at every favorable turn of the patient’s symptoms there was
rejoicing throughout the country.
So encouraging were the physicians’
reports on Thursday, the 12th, that special services of praise and
thanksgiving were held in many places.
But the love of friends, the skill
of physicians, and the prayers of an entire nation, were not sufficient
to prolong the life of William McKinley. His work was finished.
He entered upon his final rest.
Among the mourners, who during those
sad days gathered at the Milburn home, none were more sincere than
Vice-President Roosevelt. And when the burden of government fell
upon him he gave his word that, as far as lay within his power,
he would fulfill the wishes of him whose voice was now silenced
President Roosevelt kept his promise
and, in so doing, caused the Nation’s hopes to be realized. All
the people had reason to be 
thankful that so good a man occupied the place made vacant by the
tragical death of William McKinley.