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William McKinley Coffee Break Monument.

William McKinley Coffee Break Monument

Field review by the editors.

Wilmington, Delaware

In 1862 during the battle of Antietam -- the bloodiest day of the entire Civil War -- an obscure Union commissary soldier made an impression by delivering coffee under fire to the exhausted men on the front lines. That soldier was future President William McKinley, and the tale of his coffee break bravery became a political asset, told and retold with every election. By the time McKinley became President, his coffee break story was a well-known presidential hero legend.

William McKinley Coffee Break Monument.

Despite McKinley's lifetime of achievements, the coffee break is the only event in his life celebrated on the only McKinley memorial in Delaware, which apparently had no McKinley connection of its own (Antietam is far away, in another state). Unveiled in 1908, sculpted by James Edward Kelly, the monument is an upright granite slab embellished with a bronze portrait of President McKinley, and a much, much bigger big bronze bas relief of the teenaged McKinley serving coffee to his exhausted comrades.

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William McKinley Coffee Break Monument

S. Park Drive, Wilmington, DE
In Brandywine Park, on the corner of S. Park Drive and N. West St.
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