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Perhaps ironically, Schrank's bullet pierced Roosevelt's speech barely an inch from the word "blood."
Perhaps ironically, Schrank's bullet pierced Roosevelt's speech barely an inch from the word "blood." (Photo: Rickster77/Wikimedia Commons)

Historic Milwaukee will attempt to assassinate Roosevelt ... again

Is it too soon?

We often ask that before making a joke or quip about a terrible moment in our collective history.

Clearly, it's not too soon to create an historical event around the attempted assassination in Milwaukee of former President Teddy Roosevelt. Especially not in this case, because this isn't a celebration as much as a teachable moment.

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. hosts "To Kill A Bull Moose: The Attempted Assassination of Theodore Roosevelt, 100 Years Later," Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 333 W. Kilbourn Ave.

Mayor Tom Barrett will take part in the event, which kicks off at 3 p.m. with a re-enactment of the shooting at the hotel's east entrance, where German immigrant John Flammang Schrank shot Roosevelt during a speech at the Hotel Gilpatrick on Third Street.

Though he was shot in the chest, Roosevelt (who was campaigning for a third term) survived (obviously). Lore has it that the windy Roosevelt was saved by the thick wadded up speech text in his breast pocket. What's generally been considered quite amazing is that Roosevelt still went over to the Auditorium to deliver his 80-minute speech and upon finishing, went to be seen by a doctor.

That speaks volumes of Roosevelt's intestinal fortitude ... literally and figuratively, I guess.

After the event, marking the centennial of this important moment in Milwaukee – and U.S. – history, there will be a walking tour up the street to the Milwaukee Theatre (which was formerly the Auditorium) and at 4 p.m. refreshments and readings of excerpts from Roosevelt's Oct. 14, 1912 speech, at the Theatre, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave.

Presumably NOT in celebration of Schrank's work as a bartender, there will be a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres served after the festivities (if that's the right word to use here).

Roosevelt, of course, lost his 1912 bid for the presidency to Woodrow Wilson. The Hotel Gilpatrick was razed in the early 1940s and Schrank died in Waupun in 1943 and his body was donated to science; more specifically to the medical school at Marquette.

Talkbacks

fetlarpo | Oct. 12, 2012 at 6:02 p.m. (report)

Your reporter mentioned it was for Roosevelt's second term that he was running for. It was actually his third term. He was president from 1901- to 1908 and based on what he accomplished he seemed not to be a very good president.

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