“I have tried to give it everything that was in me.” — Truman (Part 2)

The Pulitzer Prize–winning biography of Harry S. Truman by David McCulough.

“When Franklin Roosevelt died, I felt there must be a million men better qualified than I, to take up the Presidential task. But the work was mine to do, and I had to do it. And I have tried to give it everything that was in me….” Truman said in his farewell address to the nation.

Truman’s Final Days and Back Home:

When the Trumans went for their train to go back to Independence, thousands were at the station to see him, wave to him, cheer and call, “So long, Harry!” “Good luck, Harry!”.

“Crowd at Harper’s Ferry…and it was reported to me at every stop all night long,” he recorded. “Same way across Indiana and Illinois.”

Train photo from Internet. (This is not the train that Truman took back to Missouri)

He had come home without salary or pension. He had no income or support of any kind from the federal government other than his Army pension of $112.56 a month (p.928), until he had his memoirs contract and the President pension was approved and came five years later.

In any event, he had turned the corporation and organization offers all down. His name was not for sale. He would take no fees for commercial endorsements or for lobbying.

Truman’s home in Independence, Missouri. Photo was taken by Pit ((Pit’s Fritztown News)

“It was the common belief in America,” Truman wrote, “that anyone could become President, and then, when the time was up, go back to being just anybody again.”

He liked to say he was just a plain American citizen again… but the difficulties in practice were more than he had anticipated (p.929).

General Marshall never complimented the people with whom he worked. This is what he said about Truman:

“The full stature of this man,” he said, his eyes on Truman, ” will only be proven by history, …. It is not the courage of these decisions that will live, but the integrity of the man.” (p. 614)

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This story says how much Truman believed “…it to be my duty under the constitution. (p. 643)”:

“One August morning at Blair House, he read in the papers that the body of an American soldier killed in action. Sergeant John Rice had been brought home for burial in Sioux City, Iowan, but that at the last moment, as the casket was to be lowered into the grave, officials of the Sioux City Memorial Park had stopped the ceremony because Sergeant Rice, a Winnebago Indian, was not ‘a member of Caucasian race and the burial was therefore denied. Outraged. Truman picked up the phone. Within minutes, by telephone and telegram, it was arranged that Sergeant Rice would be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors and that an Air Force plane was on the way to bring his widow and three children to Washington. That, as President, was the least he could do.” (p. 860)

Thank you so much, Pit (Pit’s Fritztown News) for giving me the permission of using your photo of Truman’s house. More will be on the next post.

Part 1 “I have tried to give it everything that was in me.” — Truman

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