Monday, September 24, 2012

Harry S. Truman Library

We have enjoyed Kay and Lynn’s visit from Apache Junction, Arizona, including the beautiful weather they brought with them.  In keeping with our tradition of visiting a presidential library, we traveled east to Independence and the Truman Library last week.   Like Eisenhower’s library last year, the Truman library provides a wealth of information about a important time in history—the end of World War II and the Korean War.


The library building and grounds sit adjacent to Highway 24 just north of downtown Independence.  The front is impressive as is the Thomas Hart Benton mural in the entrance.

P9200040  The next room as we entered through the arch is the oval office exactly as it was during the Truman administration.  Definitely it conveys a feeling of “being there” with the period furniture and communication devices.

An important part of the library is a very well done 45 minute movie featuring Harry S. Truman before, during and after his presidency.  I did not know of his meritorious service during WWI or his entrance into politics through the Kansas City political machine.

From there we meandered through the museum reading, listening and watching.  Former President Truman was a man of many quotes, including,  “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” The Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after the WWII is an example.   Also…


It was President Truman who ordered the bombing of Japan.  Over the years, there has been speculation as to whether the drastic response was necessary.  So, an entire exhibit is dedicated to this particular time in his presidency, including a book encouraging visitors  to write their feelings about the matter.

I am always pleased when I have a chance to peek into the personal life of someone of history.  We learned he wrote many letters, including loving and informative letters to his wife Bess.  He was an avid piano player and was quoted as saying, “If I hadn’t been President of the United States, I probably would have ended up a piano player in a bawdy house.” Along with playing the piano regularly, he took a snappy 120 paces per minute walk each morning. 

Just as we were leaving the main library to visit the courtyard and burial place, there was this final picture.  One that we all have seen at one time or another.


Harry S. Truman came into the White House after Franklin D. Roosevelt died shortly after being elected for a third term.  It was a time of many changes.  Truman led, made decisions and didn’t look back.  And, through it all, he made it clear,

“The buck stops here.”

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