Source: Dental Brief
Source type: journal
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “At McKinley’s Bier”
Author(s): Irwin, Alphonso
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 10
|Irwin, Alphonso. “At McKinley’s Bier.” Dental Brief Oct. 1901 v6n10: pp. 602-03.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (mourning); William McKinley (lying in state: Buffalo, NY); William McKinley (death: public response: Buffalo, NY).|
|Alphonso Irwin; William McKinley.|
At McKinley’s Bier
Little did I think when casting my vote for William McKinley as President of the United States that he would be the third in that great office to be stricken down by the assassin’s bullet; that our fair land was nourishing a reptile so vile, so treacherous, and so devilish as he who has slain our Chief Magistrate; or that the annals of American history would again be blackened by so hellish a crime.
Nature mourned in sympathy with the grief of a nation. The sun withheld his light; dark clouds veiled the sky. The rain as it fell might well have been tears from the overflowing eyes of the angelic throng  above. Thus the very elements contributed to the mournfulness of the occasion while the funeral services were in progress at the Milburn residence.
At the City Hall, where the remains are to lie in state from one to six . ., is a vast throng of mourners awaiting their turn to view the body. Six o’clock passes, and still the dense mass of people press onward in a double line towards the bier. Three persons a second, one hundred and eighty a minute, ten thousand an hour, gaze hurriedly, silently, and sadly upon the beloved form; and while this living stream of humanity moves onward thousands turn away unable to gain admission.
Children scarcely four years old were borne on the shoulders of their fathers; war-scarred veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic, gray-haired men and women, matrons, maidens, and young men alike stood for hours in the pouring rain awaiting their turn to enter City Hall. I stood among them for three hours drenched with rain. Never did the people of America appear more worthy of their heritage of freedom; never was a grief-stricken people more orderly or patient than those who through long hours waited to take a last look upon and pay the last honors to a true and noble man, a wise statesman, a beloved ruler.
The face of the dead President was calm and peaceful, not changed or wasted by disease, for death came shortly upon his mortal hurt. It was a face which will ever linger in the memory, for it was that of one at peace with God and man.
As the funeral cortège passes onward to the capital of the nation and thence to the home of the honored dead in Canton, Ohio, the martyr’s dying words will be echoed throughout the land,—“It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done.”
Stricken down while offering and receiving the hand-grasp of friendship and good will [sic], like his Master who was betrayed with a kiss, still like his Master his uterance [sic] was, “Do not deal harshly with the man.” Thus answering the gospel of murderous anarchy with the gospel of tolerant charity, McKinley passed to his reward. But though dead, his spirit lives and his memory becomes a priceless heritage to the nation and to mankind.
AI , D.D.S.