A JOINT RESOLUTION HONORING THE MEMORY OF HARRY S. TRUMAN, THIRTY-THIRD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Whereas, Harry S. Truman, thirty-third President of the United States died December 26, 1972, at the age of 88, a stouthearted fighter to the end; and
Whereas, his life and deeds earned him the most profound respect of the people of the State of North Carolina which he honored in many ways including the selection of two native sons as Secretary of the Army; and
Whereas, he paid high compliment to the people of North Carolina by giving his daughter in marriage to a native of this State; and
Whereas, it is fit and proper that the General Assembly of North Carolina honor the memory of this great man of the people;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:
Section 1. Following in the footsteps of the immortal Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman guided this country through eight of the most difficult years of its existence. It has been said that "Americans felt leaderless when Roosevelt died," but Truman taught them, because he was one of them, that their greatness lies in themselves for he was truly a man of the people. Many times he was misunderstood, but his valuable leadership, particularly in the fields of European reconstruction, aid to underdeveloped nations and civil rights, has passed the test of time.
Born in Lamar, Missouri, on a farm in 1884, the son of John Anderson Truman and Mary Young Truman, Harry S. Truman lived the life of a typical midwestern farm boy of the time. In 1890, the Truman family moved to Independence, Missouri, where he received his first formal education, graduating from Independence High School in 1901. Because of the then prevailing economic conditions he was unable to further his education and became a bank clerk in Kansas City, ironically staying at the same rooming house as the brother of the man who was to succeed him as President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
His first connection with the military was when he joined the National Guard on Flag Day in 1905. During World War I, he served his country as a Captain in command of a unit of the 129th Field Artillery in France. These influences from the military largely determined the course of his future life, and taught him that he had the ability to lead men.
Returning to his native Missouri, he married Miss Bess Wallace on June 28, 1919. This gracious lady, preferring to stay in the background, devoted her life to her husband and his career.
His first election victory was in 1926 when he was elected Presiding Judge of the County Court. In 1934 he ran for the United States Senate supposedly under the auspices of the Pendergast machine; however, those with whom he dealt soon found that he possessed a strong code of personal integrity. In an era that was fraught with political corruption and scandal, his name was never tarnished.
His meteoric rise to the highest office in the land can be traced directly to his second Senate term. Starting as a small group on a shoestring budget, the Truman Committee studied all aspects of our World War II defense program and budget. By his committee's probings, savings were effected in excess of fifteen billion defense dollars.
Upon Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945, this great leader was thrust into the forefront during a rapidly moving historical era, even though he never faltered, and when the crucial decision on dropping the world's first atom bomb, had to be made, Truman did not flinch from the decision. It was apparent to him that the bomb would eliminate the necessity of an American invasion of the Japanese mainland and thus save countless American lives. Later, he was equally firm in his resolve not to use the bomb in the Korean conflict.
At the Potsdam Conference to determine the fate of the post-war world, Truman proved an able negotiator. He countered Stalin's move when Russia sealed off the corridor to Berlin, by establishing the now famous Berlin Airlift. For nearly a year, American aircraft carried supplies to feed and fuel the City of 2.4 million population.
In 1947, the British finally admitted they could no longer assure the borders of freedom in the eastern Mediterranean. The Truman Doctrine reassured the world that a major power stood ready to aid free countries threatened by Communist aggression. Turning specifically to war-torn Europe, Truman initiated Secretary of State George Marshall's plan for economic revival. But for these two programs, the shattered nations of Europe might have been torn by revolution and economic distress for many years. Europe's present economic prosperity stands a noble tribute to his humanity.
Truman had a knack for matching the man with the job. Included in his cabinet was Kenneth Claiborne Royall, appointed Secretary of War in 1947, the last person to hold that office and Secretary of the Army, the first person to hold that office. With the able assistance of Gordon Gray, who succeeded him as Secretary of the Army, Royall, under Truman's direction, assisted in the economic rehabilitation of Europe and Japan. The Army and the Air Force were reorganized and Court Martial procedures revised. Under these native North Carolinians, the first steps toward racial integration of the armed forces were begun.
In 1948, postwar shortages, inflation, labor unrest, and the personal popularity of Thomas Dewey presented a grim picture for the Democratic Party. Undaunted by the situation, Truman turned tables on the Republicans. He embarked upon a whistle-stop campaign across the country, reaching 10 to 15 million citizens in a personal man-to-man plain spoken way no President had ever done before. "Give 'em Hell Harry" minced no words. On election night, the country went to bed amid proclamations of a Dewey victory, but the next morning this man-of-the-people once again proved that he knew his American people. He alone never doubted his victory.
During his second term, Truman pushed forward with his Point Four Program which offered aid to underdeveloped countries similar to that furnished Europe under the Marshall Plan. At home, his Fair Deal would take up where the New Deal left off. While congressional disapproval hindered the enactment of many of these liberal proposals, later years have seen the fruition of his ideas in programs covering medical insurance, immigration policy, farm supports, and civil rights.
As if one war per president was not enough, the Korean conflict started. When the United Nations branded North Korea as an aggressor, Truman did not hesitate sending American troops to defend the Truman Doctrine. His labeling of the conflict as a "police action" avoided the necessity of formal declaration of war by Congress but stirred up a storm of controversy which ultimately led to the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. Liberals wanted a declaration of war, conservatives wanted an all-out offensive not excluding the use of atomic weapons against Red China. Just as steadfastly as he had ordered the bombing of Japanese cities, Truman refused to risk precipitating a third global war and kept the Korean conflict down to what it was - defense of the territorial integrity of South Korea.
Harry Truman declined to seek the nomination in 1952. He had given eight years of his life to the Presidency of the United States, the most demanding job in the world. This man of action retired quietly to his Independence, Missouri, home and dedicated his time to the development of the Harry S. Truman Library which contains 9.5 million documents of his administration. For years, school children occasionally heard informal talks on "The Greatest Government in the World" from the man himself. He wrote and toured schools and universities speaking on government and history.
He was a familiar figure in Independence with his morning walks and gradually faded back into the simple midwestern life from which he sprung. At the end, he fought death just as he had fought all his battles, tooth and nail. Harry always liked to quote an epitaph on a Tombstone, Arizona, grave: "Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnest". So did this man of the people.
Sec. 2. The General Assembly of North Carolina expresses its deep admiration for, and appreciation of the life, efforts and accomplishments of Harry S. Truman which have resulted in a better life not merely for North Carolinians or Americans but for all the peoples of the world.
Sec. 3. The North Carolina General Assembly expresses to Mrs. Bess Truman, to his daughter and son-in-law, Margaret and Clifton Daniel, and to his entire family its deepest sympathy and asserts an abiding faith that the spirit of Harry S. Truman shall endure forever in the hearts and minds of all Americans.
Sec. 4. This resolution shall become part of the public records of the 1973 Session of the General Assembly of North Carolina and the Secretary of State shall cause certified copies of this resolution to be transmitted to the immediate family of the late President Harry S. Truman.
Sec. 5. This resolution shall become effective upon ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 27th day of February, 1973.