Harry S Truman (there is no period after “S”) was born in Lamar, Missouri, in 1884. He grew up in Independence, and for 12 years prospered as a Missouri farmer. He went to France during World War I as a captain in the Field Artillery. Returning, he married Elizabeth Virginia Wallace, and opened a haberdashery in Kansas City. A very active Freemason, Truman received his Masonic degrees in Belton Lodge No. 450 in Grandview, Missouri in 1909. In 1911, Truman and several other Masons organized Grandview Lodge No. 618, and Truman served as the first Master of the Lodge. In 1940, Truman was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, and would serve as such until October 1941. Truman became a US Senator in 1934 and was active in monitoring the war effort while in the Senate. Brother Franklin D. Roosevelt chose Truman to be his Vice-Presidential candidate in the 1944 elections, which Roosevelt won. During his few weeks as Vice President, Truman scarcely saw President Roosevelt, and received no briefing on the development of the atomic bomb or the unfolding difficulties with Soviet Russia. Suddenly these and a host of other wartime problems became Truman's to solve when, on April 12, 1945, he became President upon the death of Roosevelt. He told reporters, "I felt like the moon, the stars, and all the planets had fallen on me." As President, Truman made some of the most crucial decisions in history. Soon after V-E Day, the war against Japan had reached its final stage. An urgent plea to Japan to surrender was rejected. Truman, after consultations with his advisers, ordered atomic bombs dropped on cities devoted to war work. Two were Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese surrender quickly followed in 1945. In 1948, campaigning against the backdrop of crises in foreign affairs around the globe, Truman won a term as President in his own right. Deciding not to run for a second term, Truman retired from the Presidency in 1953 and returned to Independence, Missouri where he died on December 26, 1972 at the age of 88. Bio submitted by: Phillip G. Elam.
"They said we were soft, that we would not fight, that we could not win. We are not a warlike nation. We do not go to war for gain or for territory; we go to war for principles, and we produce young men like these. I think I told every one of them that I would rather have that medal, the Congressional Medal of Honor, than to be President of the United States. "
"Shortly after I was elected, in Nineteen Hundred and Forty-eight, I made up my mind that I would not seek another term. I have seen a great many men in public life, and one of their besetting sins is to stay in office too long. Nowadays, in such organizations as the Army and the civil service and industry, there is compulsory retirement, but no such regulations prevail in politics. I decided that I would not be guilty of this common failing, and that I should make way for younger menand the Constitutional Amendment Number twenty-two, the two-term amendment, does not apply to me. The people responsible for the 22nd amendment thought I was not worth considering and that Id be beaten in 1948 so I was exempted. "
"The legislative job of the President is especially important to the people who have no special representatives to plead their cause before Congressand that includes the great majority. I sometimes express it by saying the President is the only lobbyist that one hundred and fifty million Americans have. The other twenty million are able to employ people to represent themand thats all right, its the exercise of the right of petitionbut someone has to look after the interests of the one hundred and fifty million that are left. "
"You know, the greatest epitaph in the country is here in Arizona. Its in Tombstone, Ariz. , and this epitaph says, Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damndest. I think that is the greatest epitaph a man could have. Whenever a man does the best he can, then that is all he can do; and that is what your President has been trying to do for the last 3 years for this country. "
"There has been a lot of talk lately about the burdens of the Presidency. Decisions that the President has to make often affect the lives of tens of millions of people around the world, but that does not mean that they should take longer to make. Some men can make decisions and some cannot. Some men fret and delay under criticism. I used to have a saying that applies here, and I note that some people have picked it up, If you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. "
"On May 14 I was informed that the Provisional Government of Israel was planning to proclaim a Jewish state at midnight that day, Palestine time, which was when the British mandate came to an end. I decided to move at once and give American recognition to the new nation. I instructed a member of my staff to communicate my decision to the State Department and prepare it for transmission to Ambassador Austin at the United Nations in New York. About thirty minutes later, exactly eleven minutes after Israel had been proclaimed a state, Charlie Ross, my press secretary, handed the press the announcement of the de facto recognition by the United States of the provisional government of Israel. "
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