National Carnation Day Date in the current year: January 29, 2024

National Carnation Day National Carnation Day is celebrated annually on January 29. It commemorates the birthday of the 25th President of the United States William McKinley, who always wore a red carnation in his lapel for good luck.

William McKinley was born on January 29, 1843 in Niles, Ohio. Upon graduating from college, he worked as a postal clerk and a schoolteacher before enlisting to fight in the American Civil War. After the end of the war, McKinley decided to pursue a career in law. He studied for two years, passed the bar in 1867, and opened his own practice.

McKinley’s political career began the same year, when his army friend Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated for governor, and William made speeches on his behalf during Hayes’s campaign. McKinley’s association with carnations began in 1876, when he was running for Congress. His friend and opponent Levi Lamborn, an Ohioan horticulturist, gave McKinley a red carnation before the debate. McKinley won the election and started to wear carnations as a good luck charm.

McKinley served as a member of the House of Representatives from Ohio from 1877 to 1884 and then again from 1885 to 1891. In 1892, he was elected as the governor of Ohio. Since Ohio was a key swing state, McKinley became a major figure in American politics. Four years later, he won the 1896 presidential election, and was sworn in as the 25th President of the United States on March 4, 1897.

McKinley is remembered for leading the country to victory in the Spanish-American War, gaining control over Cuba, Hawaii, the Philippines and Puerto Rico, restoring prosperity and boosting American industry after a period of deep economic depression, and keeping the United States on the gold standard. Although McKinley is usually ranked above average in historical rankings of U. S. presidents, his popularity was overshadowed by that of his successor, Theodore Roosevelt.

McKinley was fatally shot on September 6, 1901 at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Doctors tried to save his life, but his wound got infected, and the president died in hospital on September 14. According to legend, McKinley took off his carnation and gave it to young girl the day he was shot; some people believe that that’s when his good luck left him. McKinley’s shooter, anarchist Leon Czolgosz, was tried, convicted, and executed on October 29.

National Carnation Day was first observed on January 29, 1903. It was established by the Carnation League of America, a group founded by Lewis G. Reynolds of Dayton, Ohio. It is a solemn remembrance day when people who want to honor the memory of William McKinley are invited to wear a carnation.

What are other ways to observe National Carnation Day? You can learn more about William McKinley and his role in American history, give carnations to the people you love (or to strangers as a random act of kindness), buy a bouquet of carnations to liven up your home, or post a picture of carnations on social media with the hashtags #NationalCarnationDay and #CarnationDay to spread the word about the observance.

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National Carnation Day, observances in the United States, remembrance days, memorial ways, William McKinley