Source: Wichita Daily Eagle
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “And World Goes On”
City of publication: Wichita, Kansas
Date of publication: 2 November 1901
Volume number: 35
Issue number: 144
|“And World Goes On.” Wichita Daily Eagle 2 Nov. 1901 v35n144: p. 8.|
|White House; William McKinley (mourning); Theodore Roosevelt (assumption of presidency: public response); William McKinley (death: public response: Washington, DC).|
|Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Theodore Roosevelt.|
And World Goes On
President Roosevelt Now Sits in McKinley Chair.
IS CENTER OF ATTRACTION
Quick Change at Capital Is Rather Pathetic.
Many persons who casually pass through the White
House grounds when for the first time the flag on the old mansion was raised
again to full staff, must have felt a touch of sadness as deep as over anything
that has happened in the six momentous weeks since President McKinley was shot
at Buffalo, writes a Washington correspondent. The sky was dark and murky. All
day the laborers had been raking into piles the leaves, which, under the smart
breezes of October, had been falling rapidly. Even the fish pond, where all
summer long most interesting specimens of aquatic plants had been growing, looked
the picture of wreckage. The cold nights had killed off almost everything, indicating
that the time had arrived for the gardener o [sic] gather in his fish and plants
and to shut off the water for the winter. In the autumn atmosphere, there appeared
over the old mansion the flag at full height, telling all beholders that the
period of official mourning, even with its limit once postponed, was over—President
McKinley had gone.
At the time of his death the manifestation of universal sorrow and the elaborate preparation for his funeral absorbed public attention; they were in keeping with the rank and eminence of the illustrious dead, and seemed to show the large place which he continued to hold in the nation’s affairs and in the public thought. But the restoration of the flag to its regular place suggested how short is the active grief of the living, no matter how sincere, and how soon does the bustling world adapt itself to new conditions and new men.
No one could have been more considerate than Mr. Roosevelt of the memory of his predecessor, or more delicate in the manner of taking his place. Yet it was inevitable that the thought of the public should rapidly turn to the acts of the living president and away from the past. Only a few months ago the McKinley name and associations were upon everybody’s lips. Major McKinley’s civil war comrades came to Washington, and when they had any incident to relate of his early life it was eagerly listened to and widely printed. Today it is the Rough Rider comrade whose footsteps toward the White House are watched. The “original McKinley man” in politics has given place to the “original Roosevelt man.” The anecdotes of Mrs. McKinley’s invalidism and of her husband’s tender solicitude for her were often repeated, and groups of tourists were gathered about the portico of the White House to see the pair together when they went out to drive. Today it is Mr. Roosevelt’s children who have to dodge the cameras in all their journeyings; it is the name given to the Roosevelt horses that suggests clever turns to the local paragraphers; it is the incidents of Mr. Roosevelt’s career and his adventures that everybody stops to hear. Two months ago Mr. McKinley’s views on all matters were eagerly sought by students of public affairs; today the question is: “What does Mr. Roosevelt think?” All this inevitable, though powerful, transition of public thought and interest was indicated by the pushing up of the flag to the head of the staff. That the life of a president of the United States may so suddenly go out is really the saddest phase of the tragic events of the last six weeks. Not in putting the flag at half-staff, but in ceasing to keep it there, is the rea loccasion [sic] of grief.