It’s Truman season, and things get busy this week.
1. The Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, presented annually by the city of Independence, this year goes to Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The ceremony is at 7 p.m. Friday on the steps of the Truman Library on U.S. 24. Afterward there’s a reception in the library’s lobby. Both the ceremony and reception are open to the public.
Also, a special recognition award is going to Dick Wilson, an Independence resident and longtime area radio personality. He’s been a community volunteer for years.
The Public Service Award is given to those who exemplify Truman’s qualities of honesty, integrity, hard work, dedication and ability. Last year’s winners were those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mullen was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2007 to 2011, making him the chief military adviser to President George W. Bush and then President Barack Obama.
2. The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award, presented annually by the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation, this year goes to former President Bill Clinton. The luncheon ceremony is May 8 –the 129th anniversary of Truman’s birth – at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. It was sold out weeks ago. The Good Neighbor Award Foundation began as a group of Truman’s Kansas City area friends and associates who organized after he left office.
Clinton is the second president to be given this award, the other being Gerald Ford in 1977. Clinton was given the Public Service Award four years ago.
The Good Neighbor Award has been given every year since 1973, the year after Truman died. Last year’s winner was former Congressman Ike Skelton, whose district included parts of Eastern Jackson County.
3. A wreath is laid at Truman’s grave at the Truman Library in a ceremony at 9 a.m. May 8.
Admission to the library is $1 for the day, and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. there’s a celebration of the 33rd president’s birthday that includes re-enactor Niel Johnson as Truman. Starting at 1:30 and until the last piece is served, volunteers will serve cake and punch to museum visitors.
4. A showing of “Tom and Harry: The Boss and the President” is at 7 p.m. May 8 at the Screenland Crossroads Theatre, 1656 Washington St. in the crossroads section just south of the downtown loop in Kansas City.
The documentary is about the relationship between Truman and Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast. It was made by Kansas City filmmaker Terence O’Malley, whose films also include Kansas City documentaries “Nelly Don: A Stitch in Time” and “Black Hand Strawman: The History of Organized Crime in Kansas City.”
O’Malley is scheduled to be on hand for a 6 p.m. mixer before the film and then stay for Q&A afterward. There’s a suggested donation of $10 for CinemaKC, a nonprofit that supports area filmmakers. This documentary was to have been shown Feb. 21, but the area had heavy snow then, so it rescheduled for early May.
Page 2 of 2 - 5. There’s an ongoing special exhibit, for most of 2013, at the Truman Library, “Benton and Truman: Legends of the Missouri Border,” exploring the relationship between the president and the famed muralist. Among Benton’s works is the mural that greets visitors to the library in its lobbyt, “Independence and the Opening of the West.” Benton painted it between 1958 and 1960, the year immediately after the library opened. During those years, Benton and Truman got to know each other and hit it off fairly well.
The exhibit, which includes correspondence between the two men, runs through Oct. 14.
– Jeff Fox