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Missouri Celebrates Truman Day

Today is Truman Day, and many state offices will be closed in honor of President Harry S. Truman's birthday. Truman was born in 1884 in Lamar, but he grew up in Independence. He's the only president from Missouri, and Truman Day is only celebrated in Missouri.

SMSU professor of communications Donal Stanton was a personal acquaintance of Harry Truman. He has also studied Truman's political career for years. Stanton says Truman rates among the greats with presidential historians.

Stanton says one reason Truman's stock is going up is that he was a visionary in national and foreign policy.

Truman is also known as the only president to ever use nuclear weapons in war. This fact has brought about some criticism over the years, but Truman always defended his decision to use nuclear weapons to end World War II in the Pacific.

Stanton says Truman is not only a favorite among historians, but also with the American public, because of his no-nonsense style of political speechmaking.

After serving almost two terms in the white house, Truman decided not to run for re-election in 1952. He retired to Independence, where he enjoyed writing, lecturing and supporting the Truman Presidential Library. He died in 1972, and was buried in the library's courtyard.

Because he was from Missouri, Truman became associated with "The Missouri Waltz", which became the Missouri State Song while Truman was president. Although he did not care for the waltz, it was played nearly everywhere he went.

In honor of Truman Day, here's the Missouri Waltz:

For KSMU News, I'm Jenny Fillmer