The Day a President Died

William McKinley was the 25th president of the United States. He was a man of great accomplishment. McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish-American War, raised tariffs that promoted American industry, and maintained the gold standard. He was the last president to have served in the Civil War and the only president to have started the war as a private in the Union Army.

Amid a deep economic depression, the Republican defeated William Jennings Bryan, who had been heavily favored in the 1896 election. He defeated Bryan in a rematch in 1900.

But McKinley’s legacy was cut short in a single day. On September 6, 1901, Leon Czolgosz, a Polish-American, shot the president. He died eight days later, on September 14, 116 years ago today. This thrust Vice President Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency. And the successful presidency of Mr. McKinley was soon overshadowed by the ever popular Roosevelt.

Life can change in a moment – for good or bad. And sometimes this change is beyond our control. The lesson? Take hold of today – the only day you are promised. Make it count, because what happens next is anyone’s guess.

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