CANTON, Ohio –
88Local politicians, service organizations, cub scouts, Soldiers and a menagerie of other guests gathered to celebrate William McKinley and to honor his service to the nation on the occasion of his 175th birthday at his Canton, Ohio-based memorial and museum, January 27.
Each year, the William McKinley Museum hosts a “McKinley Day” to honor the nation’s 25th president. Events during the day include a scavenger hunt, cooking demonstrations, a planetarium show and a wreath laying ceremony.
“President McKinley is our city’s president and we take the responsibility very seriously,” said Kimberly Kenney, the curator for the McKinley Museum. “We love to be able to share it with the community.”
This year’s wreath laying ceremony was forced indoors due to the rain. During the ceremony eight separate wreaths were placed by various members tied to McKinley’s life and service to the nation.
Wreaths were placed on behalf of Civil War re-enactors, the Masons of McKinley Lodge 431, the Department of Ohio Army & Navy Union, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, the city of Canton by current Mayor Thomas Bernabei, the State of Ohio by State Senator W. Scott Oelslager, Representative Christina Hagan and Representative Thomas E. West, the U.S. Congress by Tim Ross, and for the President of the United States by Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Strand and Chap. (Maj.) Stephen H. Pauley.
“It’s a great honor, for one. It’s certainly not something I expected to ever get to do on behalf on the president delivering a wreath for a former president,” said Strand, serves as the Deputy Chief of Engineers (Reserve Affairs) and formerly served as the Deputy Commanding General of the 88th Readiness Division.
The ceremony concludes with the wreath placed on behalf of the president, a 21-gun salute by the 29th Ohio Company G re-enactment group and Taps as played by Sgt. Dana Veneskey from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 338th Army Band.
“The wreath laying is definitely the highlight of the whole day. Without this, it wouldn’t be nearly the emotional and moving day that it is,” Kenney said.