Source: New-York Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Wears the Loyal Legion Button”
City of publication: New York, New York
Date of publication: 16 September 1901
Volume number: 61
Issue number: 20028
|“Wears the Loyal Legion Button.” New-York Tribune 16 Sept. 1901 v61n20028: p. 1.|
|William McKinley (remains: condition, treatment, etc.); Abner McKinley; Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; William McKinley (personal character).|
|Abner McKinley; William McKinley.|
Wears the Loyal Legion Button
ABNER M’KINLEY HAD IT PLACED ON HIS DEAD BROTHER’S BODY.
Buffalo, Sept. l5.—An impressive and pathetic
incident occurred to-day while the body of the President was lying in the Milburn
house. The body was in the rear room on the second floor, and after it had been
prepared by the undertaker for removal, Abner McKinley went up to look on the
face of his brother. For several moments he stood silently by the side of the
coffin looking down into the face of the one he loved, the boy with whom he
had played, the man he had revered and respected, and now the dead President
for whom the great nation mourned.
The form in the coffin was dressed in the conventional frock coat, but as Abner McKinley looked down on it he discovered that the button of the Loyal Legion was not there. Always, through the years since the organization was formed, the President had worn it. He was a member of the Loyal Legion, he had earned his place on the honorable roster of the nation’s heroes, earned it on the battlefield, and he wore it with the pride of an American citizen. It was much to be President of the United States, the Chief Executive of the great Union, but it was more in the heart of patriotic William McKinley to have been one who fought for the preservation of that Union, and this simple little button meant much to him.
Abner McKinley, shaken with grief, turned away from the coffin and approached one of the attendants, saying:
“The button of the Loyal Legion is not in my brother’s coat. Why was it omitted?”
The attendant did not know. He only knew that he had placed on the dead President such garments as had been given to him, and the little button was not in the coat that had been given to him for the President’s burial. Silently and quickly the attendant was sent to the room where the body had been prepared for burial, and there was found the coat that he had worn on the day he was shot. In the lapel was the button, which was removed and tenderly placed in its accustomed place on the breast of the great man who had worn it so proudly in his life.
As the ceaseless throng filed into the City Hall later in the day to look on the placid features of the president, hundreds of Grand Army men saw and understood, as none others could, the meaning of the small button in the dead hero’s coat.