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Examiner
  • Family, friends pay tribute to Truman on 129th birthday

  • Clifton Truman Daniel has not been to a wreath laying ceremony before, marking the birthday of President Harry S. Truman. The grandson of Harry and Bess, he said the last time he stood in that courtyard was in 1972 for his grandfather’s funeral.

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  • Clifton Truman Daniel has not been to a wreath laying ceremony before, marking the birthday of President Harry S. Truman. The grandson of Harry and Bess, he said the last time he stood in that courtyard was in 1972 for his grandfather’s funeral.
    “I remember that funeral. That is what came to my mind,” he said. “I think this event is great. Life and work always interrupted, but it is wonderful to come and see this.”
    Threatening storm clouds did not stop the wreath laying ceremony, which honored President Truman on what would have been his 129th birthday. Wreaths were laid at Truman’s gravesite, in the courtyard at the Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Matthew Brown, a student at Truman High School, played taps, and both the American Legion Department of Missouri Color Guard, Post 642 and the Van Horn Army Junior ROTC presented the colors during the ceremonies.
    Michael Devine, director of the Truman Library, said on Truman’s birthday, it is important to focus on “The Man from Independence’s” commitment to public service. Truman retired to Independence after his presidency, working out of an office downtown before settling into a space at the museum and library upon its completion. During his time in Independence, he met with school groups, military and political leaders and civic organizations.
    Devine said with the school groups, Truman always focused on public service.
    “He looked at public service as an honorable profession,” he said. “We need to remember how important public service is and what an exemplary model President Truman provided.”
    Daniel said he remembers his grandfather as a “good man,” but refers to one quote that sums up Truman best.
    “There is a headstone in Arizona that says ‘Here lies (Jack Williams). He did his damnedest,” Daniel said. “I think that sums him up. He did the best he could in every situation.”
    The wreath laying was followed by a reception and a luncheon program. The master of ceremonies was Commander Dennis Mooney. Former President Bill Clinton was also in Kansas City Wednesday to receive the Harry S Truman Good Neighbor Award.
    “We commemorate a lot of anniversaries like 9/11 or for the Japanese, the atomic bombs,” Daniel said. “But we have to have a way to recall the leaders, and the good they did for the world. It is always good to keep those in your memories and have someone to look up to.”

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