New Truman Statue in Capitol Shows a President in a Hurry

Speakers praise 33rd president at unveiling of bronze likeness in Rotunda
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2022 6:15 PM CDT
Harry Truman Statue Takes Its Place in Capitol Rotunda
The statue of former President Harry S. Truman is now installed in the US Capitol Rotunda.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Harry Truman seemed to always be on the move, but then, he had a lot to do. World War II ended on his watch, and Truman helped create the United Nations and NATO, desegregated the Armed Forces and the federal workforce, conferred US recognition upon Israel, and worked to counter the rise of Soviet Communism in the postwar world. "No president faced more crucial decisions than those President Truman confronted in the first nine months of his presidency," Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said Thursday at the unveiling of a Truman statue in the US Capitol, KOMU reports.

Also, Truman just liked to walk. In Washington and Independence, Mo., Truman marked his strikes with a walking cane, per the Kansas City Star, trying to keep up 120 steps a minute. The 7½-foot bronze statue reflects that motion, representing the 33rd president descending steps, his arms swinging at his side. To make room, Alexander Hamilton's statue was shifted to the Hall of Columns, and long-ago Missouri Sen. Thomas Hart Benton's likeness left the building, per the AP. The Truman Library Institute raised more than $400,000 in donations for the new statue by Kansas City artist Tom Corbin. The sculptor was given access to Truman's clothes and glasses to ensure accuracy, and the statue includes the president's World War I service pin and 33rd-degree Mason’s ring.

With his desegregation orders, Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City said at the ceremony that Truman "helped create a Black middle class that enabled African Americans to advance in society and participate in the prosperity of this great nation." Clifton Truman Daniels said his grandfather, who was vice president for just 82 days before President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945, was a little embarrassed by statues. Other speakers listed Truman's accomplishments, but Daniels said his grandfather's greatest was "reminding us that a farmer, a citizen soldier, a small-businessman can rise to the highest office in this land and do a better job of it than almost anybody else." (More Harry Truman stories.)

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