Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Harry S. Truman
1945-1953


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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  157. Remarks at a Breakfast of the 35th Division Association, Springfield, Missouri  
June 7, 1952

Mr. Chairman, Governor Smith, Mr. President of the 35th Division Organization:

I could recognize the voice of old Blue and old Bob--I don't know which one was leading--but I couldn't hear a single bark out of the fox. I wish they would put a game rooster on there, instead of that old hound dog, and it wouldn't take him too long to get through!

I am appreciative of this signal honor you have conferred on me. You know, as President of the United States I have handed out more medals than any other President--maybe as many as all the rest of the Presidents put together. That is due to the fact that we have had so many men who earned these medals.

It is one of the most important things, and one of the most pleasant things that I do as President. I just pinned a medal on General Eisenhower a few days ago in the Rose Garden of the White House. I pinned one on General MacArthur at Wake Island. I pinned one on General Wainwright when he came back from that Japanese prison camp. His was the Congressional Medal of Honor, on account of his actions at the time. And when I went to give him the medal--it has a ribbon that has to be put around the neck--he shed tears, and said he thought I was going to court-martial him when he got back. That is one of the most touching things in regard to medals that I ever had happen to me.

I have had many funny things happen to me also. There was this great big, tall captain of infantry, weighing about 200 pounds. When he was a sergeant, he had captured 156 Germans in this little village, and when he ran out of hand grenades he threw rocks; and the Germans came out and surrendered because when the rocks hit the windows they thought he was still throwing hand grenades. And I went to put the ribbon around his neck--I had to tiptoe to reach him--and I said, "Young man, I don't want you throwing rocks at me." And he said, "I wouldn't, Mr. President. I'm more scared now than I was then."

I appreciate this medal. It is very seldom that the President ever gets a medal. He usually gets brickbats. But when he does get a medal, he highly appreciates it.

NOTE: The President spoke at 8:20 a.m. at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield after being presented the "Ozark Hillbilly Medallion of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce" and a certificate proclaiming him a hillbilly of the Ozarks. His opening words referred to Lester E. Cox, general chairman of the 35th Division Reunion Corporation, Governor Forrest Smith of Missouri, and Warren L. Osgood, president of the 35th Division Association.

At the beginning of his remarks the President referred to a simulated fox hunt performed by Eli Atkinson of Hartville, Mo., who imitated the sounds of the foxes and hounds in the chase. Attendance at a fox hunt was a prerequisite to the President's "citizenship" in the Ozarks.
 
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.