There are busts and statues of Harry Truman, America’s 33rd president, around the country and overseas. Perhaps the most famous is one the east side of what is now called the Truman Courthouse at the center of the Independence Square.

Sculptor Gilbert Franklin was commissioned to create the bronze statue. It was dedicated 38 years ago, on May 8, 1976 – Truman’s birthday. Among those in attendance that day were Margaret Truman Daniel (Harry and Bess Truman’s only child); Gov. Christopher S. “Kit” Bond, Sens. Hubert Humphrey, Stuart Symington and Tom Eagleton, and Congressmen William Randall and Richard Bolling.

Bet you didn’t know ... the keynote speaker that day was President Gerald Ford. Among other things, he talked of getting elected to Congress in 1948 and then being assigned to the House Public Works Committee. Truman, lobbying to address decades of neglect and getting the White House renovated, invited the committee over for a tour. Ford said it was convincing. “So I broke all the anti-spending promises of my first campaign, and I want to testify here today that I’m glad and grateful for President Truman’s foresight and concern for future occupants of that beautiful and historic house – and Betty and I especially enjoy the Truman Balcony.”

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