Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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September 14th
The Man in the Arena
At 2:15 am on September 14, 1901, President William McKinley died in Buffalo, New York, from wounds left by an assassin’s bullet. A few minutes after 3:30 p.m. on the same day, Theodore Roosevelt stood in the library of a friend’s house in Buffalo and took the oath of office to become the twenty-sixth president of the United States. At age forty-two, he was the youngest man ever to assume the office.

“It is a dreadful thing to come into the presidency in this way,” Roosevelt observed. Yet he woke the next morning ready to stride into the arena of history, exclaiming “I feel bully!” A friend once said that Roosevelt was a many-sided man and “every side was like an electric battery.”

Cowboy, explorer, naturalist, Rough Rider, author, politician – he was just the dynamo the young United States needed for a new century. Several years later, in a speech on “Citizenship in a Republic,” Teddy Roosevelt described his approach to governing and to life:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that
his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
American History Parade
Boston Light, the first lighthouse in America, is kindled for the first time.

Francis Scott Key writes “The Star-Spangled Banner” after watching the British bombard Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812.

U.S. forces, including Marines, capture Mexico City and raise the flag over the “halls of Montezuma.”

Elizabeth Ann Seton is canonized as the first American-born Catholic saint.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb

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