William McKinley had a garden of red carnations at the White House and would hand them out to guests. As the comic says, he wore one every day of his life after being given one by Dr. L.L. Lamborn, McKinley’s friend and opponent in the 1872 Congressional election for the 18th district of Ohio.

While greeting people at the Pan-American Exposition at the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York, he gave his red carnation to a young girl in the crowd (who said, based on a report much later by the girl-then-80-year-old-woman, Myrtle Krass née Ledger, “in that case, I must give this flower to another flower”). Not being able to replace the carnation like he would normally do, he was approached by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz minutes later without being equipped with his good luck charm.

Czolgosz fired two shots from a .32 caliber revolver hidden underneath a handkerchief and McKinley would die eight days later, thus ushering in the age of Theodore Roosevelt.

Since 1905, the state flower of Ohio is the red carnation.