Mashable composite
Mashable composite

That Time William McKinley Gave Away His Lucky Flower—And Then Died

Mashable composite
Mashable composite

Early in his political career, an opponent of William McKinley’s gave him a red carnation boutonniere to wear during a debate. McKinley went on to win that debate and then the congressional election in 1887 (he served in the Ohio House of Representatives for 14 years), and he saw this red carnation as his good luck charm. He began wearing one during all election cycles, including his two gubernatorial wins and his 1896 presidential campaign. After his first presidential win, McKinley started wearing a single carnation in his lapel at all times. He even kept a bouquet of them on his desk in the Oval Office and would gift them to visitors.

McKinley—who was born on January 29, 1843—was also known to give people the flower from his lapel, though he would replace it as quickly as possible. In 1901, months after his second term in office began, he was in Buffalo, New York for the Pan-American Exposition. While greeting the public, he met a 12-year-old girl named Myrtle Ledger who was there with her mother. Years later, Myrtle recalled that President McKinley said, “I must give this flower to another little flower,” and then he gave her his lucky carnation.

Minutes later, McKinley greeted another person in line—his assassin, Leon Czolgosz. The president was shot twice and died the following week from gangrene. Three years later, the Ohio General Assembly named the scarlet carnation the official state flower in his honor.

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NASA, Getty Images
Watch Apollo 11 Launch
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
NASA, Getty Images

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, on its way to the moon. In the video below, Mark Gray shows slow-motion footage of the launch (a Saturn V rocket) and explains in glorious detail what's going on from a technical perspective—the launch is very complex, and lots of stuff has to happen just right in order to get a safe launch. The video is mesmerizing, the narration is informative. Prepare to geek out about rockets! (Did you know the hold-down arms actually catch on fire after the rocket lifts off?)

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 from Spacecraft Films on Vimeo.

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Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Utility Workers May Have Found One of Rome’s First Churches
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

The remains of what may have been one of Rome’s earliest Christian churches were accidentally discovered along the Tiber River during construction, The Local reports. The four-room structure, which could have been built as early as the 1st century CE, was unearthed by electrical technicians who were laying cables along the Ponte Milvio.

The newly discovered structure next to the river
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

No one is sure what to make of this “archaeological enigma shrouded in mystery,” in the words of Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency. Although there’s no definitive theory as of yet, experts have a few ideas.

The use of colorful African marble for the floors and walls has led archaeologists to believe that the building probably served a prestigious—or perhaps holy—function as the villa of a noble family or as a Christian place of worship. Its proximity to an early cemetery spawned the latter theory, since it's common for churches to have mausoleums attached to them. Several tombs were found in that cemetery, including one containing the intact skeleton of a Roman man.

Marble flooring
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

A tomb
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma1

The walls are made of brick, and the red, green, and beige marble had been imported from Sparta (Greece), Egypt, and present-day Tunisia, The Telegraph reports.

As The Local points out, it’s not all that unusual in Rome for archaeological discoveries to be made by unsuspecting people going about their day. Rome’s oldest aqueduct was found by Metro workers, and an ancient bath house and tombs were found during construction on a new church.

[h/t The Local]

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