When one crosses the mighty Missouri River, you are welcomed to the 'Show Me' State of Missouri. If you're on I-70, you're in the metropolis of Kansas City. It was just a mere 12 miles, and we were in Independence and ready to visit the Harry Truman Library, Museum and Home.
This silhouette of the Retired Truman is the landmark of Independence and proudly displayed on every street corner. They've reason enough to be so proud of their President, as upon returning home after his service as President; this is the scene the citizens of Independence would see, when Harry took his morning walks.
After the Truman Library was completed, it was here that he maintained his office and here the end of his walk. His walking was not a retirement activity, as even when he was President he was up at 5:00am and off for a couple of hours of brisk walking. This was his thniking time.
Now lets reflect on Harry Truman, while he was the President of the United States. Oh! the pressure he inherited on that Thursday morning, April 12th 1945, immediately after the death of President Roosevelt. Truman had only been the Vice President for 81 days. Too, it is recorded that Roosevelt did not confide in Truman, and that they had as few as 2 meetings in the 80 day period. At his first press conference the day following his becoming the 33 President, he is quoted as saying, "Boys, if you ever pray, pray for me now. I don't know whether you fellows ever had a load of hay fall on you, but when they told me yesterday what had happened, I felt like the moon, the stars, and all of the planets had fallen on me."
Harry S Truman the 33rd President of the United States 1945 ~ 1953
The position of being President of the United States is undoubtedly the most demanding of any responsibility. And we know it shows in the faces of every President, we have seen serve. But look what Harry Truman faced that Thursday in 1945. A war going in Europe and a war in the Pacific, and he was immediately the US representative at Potsdam with Churchill and Stalin.
Lets look at the major events this President faced in his term of Office,
May 8th Germany surrenders
August 2nd Potsdam Conference
August 6th Atomic Bomb Hiroshima
When Truman became the President, he knew nothing of the Manhattan Project nor of the building of nuclear weapons. Remember that this was in the time that the world was at War, and if you didn't know - that was good! But when faced with the decision on whether or not to drop the Atomic Bomb, he did not hesitate in his decision. "The Buck Stops Here!". He was convinced that in doing so saved thousands of American Lives. Remember, he had faced battle in war of WWI.
Picture of Tibbets August 15 Japan Surrenders
McArthur Siging Peace Treaty Photo
Marshall Plan of 13 million to feed and Reconstruct Europe
Truman was quoted in his autobiography of having said, the toughest decision he ever had to make as President was not whether or not to drop the Atomic Bomb, but to feed a war devastated and starving Europe while keeping the US on WWII rationing diets of 1800 ~ 2700 calories per day. Truman's tough part was that he could not tell the US Citizens, why they were still being rationed. There was not a great deal of love for any of the Axis Countries at this point of our lives.
Do you still remember the WWII rationing books? I have several that my parents saved, and they will go to our grandchildren. A memento of growing up in WWII.
Our books with ribble
There were other major actions and events that arose and had to be handled in his two terms of office.
Truman Doctrine - Implementing the US Stand against USSR and Communism
1948 Berlin Air Lift
1950 Korean War
Desecration of US Armed Services and the Federal Government.
His Motto and Creed was always "The Buck Stops Here".
Truman’s election defeat? VICTORY of 1948
In the 1948 Presidential Election Truman was financially strapped. Harry Pendergast had lost his power as the Democrat Sugar Daddy in Kansas City, and this was a major source of money for the Truman Election Campaign. And he lost the solid Democrat south with his Desecration of the Army and Federal Government. His reelection campaign was is trouble He devised a 'Whistle Stop" Campaign and criss crossed the US City to Town speaking to thousands from the rear of the train. He carried his campaign to the people.
He went to bed on election night with all national broadcast proclaiming Dewey as victorious, and even the Chicago Tribune printed these headlines. But about 4:00am he was awaken and told that he had been re-elected. When he read the Chicago head line, he exclaimed, "Boy am I going to have some fun with this."
Harry Truman was a people's President. A Mason, a Past Grand Master of Masons in Missouri. a Shriner, a Veteran, a Leader and a Gentleman.
He passed away in independence on December 26th, 1972. The Truman are interned at the Truman Library
The Library of course covers many things about war. Truman was a Captain in the Army in WWI, and a Senator and President in WWII
The significance of our visit was the absolute of his being a humble man. A church man, one with a quick smile, and a hardy laughing man. This permeates the City of Independence, Truman's home, and his Library. Dottie even enjoyed her visit with the President, as we were leaving the Library.
We anticipated revisiting with an objective in mind. The Truman home I wanted to take a picture of the linoleum floor covering in the kitchen. Several years previously we had stopped and toured his home; and we found that the kitchen floor where the linoleum had cracked, was repaired by tacks which held the rolled edges down. This was a practice of those times, as the linoleum was not worn out; it was still good, as it was just that the edges rolled up. The story is that when the National Park Service was preparing the home for public display, they were going to replace the linoleum; but Harry would not let them do it. 'This is the way we lived, and this linoleum is still good. Leave it as it is. This reflects Harry and Bess Truman'. I wanted to include a picture of that floor here, but in the home pictures are not allowed any moore. Why? Call the President and I know he'll say You Betcha! .
Also in Independence
Community of Christ Temple
We could see this magnificent spiral steeple from our RV campground, which was incidentally right in downtown Independence and called the 'Campus RV Park'. After touring the Truman Library we drove over to this master piece of architecture and construction. I though we were again in Rev. Shuler's 'Crystal Cathedral' in California.
On our drive through we discovered three significant buildings. One of these was the LDS Center; and being it was open for visitors, we stopped. We took the historical tour on the Mormons movement lead by Joseph Smith, and their settling in Independence. As the tour guide related to us; they started West from the New England area, they continued to gather more and more families who wanted to go west. On arriving in Independence their numbers were half those those of the local population, and this caused unrest and distention. However, they purchased either 320 or 640 ( acres and I forget the actual size) for their town site and used this as a gathering area for the westward pilgrimage.
What we now know as the Latter Day Saints Mormon Church, primary the Salt Lake City LDS Church, moved on to Utah. Those of the Mormon faith who remained in the Independence area have transitioned to the "Community of Christ". They acquired a significant part of the original homestead (320 acres) and have build this magnificent Temple and Auditorium. The LDS later returned and have opened the visitor's center here pictured. Too, we found out that the 'Campus RV' is also part of the Community of Christ operation. This entire facility is beautifully landscaped and and maintained by one of these Church Groups.
These structures and grounds add to the aura of Independence.
Community of Christ Auditorium
"I've got the St Louis Blues"
W C Hardey wrote the Jazz tune of the St. Louis Blues in 1914, a hundred in one years ago, and we've got them now! But, Hey that is just on down the road and our youngest daughter and her husband are waiting for us, and Momma 'D' is anxious to move on down the road. James and Renee have a large home so you are welcomed to come on and go with us.
Come on Willie sing us another verse, and we’ll move on down the road.