Harry Truman 1884-1972

During a few days together, my sons and I talked about many things. Matt was reading about Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States. In the last years of his life, in Independence, Missouri, Truman took morning walks with Thomas Melton, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.

Passing an enormous gingko tree on Maple Street, one of the largest, most spectacular trees in town, Truman would customarily speak to it. And what would the President say to the tree, Melton was asked by a visitor years later. He would say, ‘You’re doing a good job.’ Truman, by David McCullough, p. 984.

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When Truman died in December, 1972, Mary McGrory wrote a tribute to him for the Washington Star:

He did not require to be loved. He did not expect to be followed blindly. Congressional opposition never struck him as subversive, nor did he regard his critics as traitors. He never whined. He walked around Washington every morning–it was safe then. He met reporters frequently as a matter of course, and did not blame them for his failures. He did not use the office as a club or a shield, or a hiding place. He said he lived by the Bible and history. So armed, he proved that the ordinary American is capable of grandeur, and that a President can be a human being.  Truman, p. 989 

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