Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

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Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.
  266. Remarks in St. Louis at the Installation of Mary Jane Truman as Worthy Grand Matron, Order of the Eastern Star for Missouri  
October 11, 1950

Worthy Grand Matron, Worthy Grand Patron, distinguished guests and visitors, brothers and sisters:

It is a pleasure, of course, for me to be here tonight to see my sister installed as Worthy Grand Matron of the great State of Missouri. This is a very high honor to the family, and we all appreciate it.

I stopped here on my way west, and I have some of my staff here, and I would like to present them to you. I have the Honorable Charles G. Ross, Secretary to the President; Maj. Gen. Harry H. Vaughan, Military Aide to the President; Brig. Gen. Wallace H. Graham, Physician to the President--he keeps me walking around--the Honorable Mon C. Wallgren, former Governor of the great State of Washington and Chairman of the Federal Power Commission at this time. Also, my good friend Adelbert Weston, who used to work in the big Lodge at Belton, Mo., with me 40 years ago. I don't know whether he admits it, but I do. We have also present here tonight the father of the physician who keeps me walking around-and he used to do that before his son did-the Honorable J. W. Graham of Kansas City.

I don't know what to say to you tonight. There is not very much I can say. I told my sister that I didn't want to talk more than an hour and a half. She did not seem to be very highly pleased with that, so I guess I will have to cut it short.

There are a great many things in this world, especially in this great United States of ours, which we do not appreciate. One of the things which we do not appreciate is the fact that we have this privilege here tonight. It is not customary in countries other than the free countries of the world, such as the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, to have organizations of this kind which can operate as they please for the welfare of all the members. The first thing that a totalitarian government does is to abolish all such organizations as this, and persecute the members.

I hope that the time will come, in the not far distant future, when it will be the privilege of every great nation to have freedom of the individual. That is what this country is rounded upon. I do not believe the people of this country fully appreciate the Constitution under which they live. The first 10 amendments to that Constitution are the greatest Bill of Rights in the history of the world. It gives the right of the individual to live as he pleases and worship as he pleases. There are very few countries in the world where you find that privilege.

Now I am on my way to have a conference with General MacArthur, and I hope that out of that conference will come some contribution to the peace of the world.

For 5 long, hard years as President of the United States, I have labored diligently to attain a peaceful world. I think, in spite of conditions which are prevailing in the Far East, that we are making progress toward that point.

I hope eventually that there will come a time in the world when it will not be necessary for us to settle our differences by killing each other. We have to be patient, though, because it took us--ourselves--more than 80 years to come to that conclusion, and we were 4 of those years whipping ourselves before we decided to live peacefully together. Maybe that will come about in the world at large. I hope it will. I am going to keep working for it, anyway.

I want to thank this great organization most sincerely for the honor that it has conferred on my sister. All of us in the whole family are happy and pleased that you have seen fit to do that. I hope she will make a good Worthy Matron. I prophesy that she will.
Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:46 p.m. in Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Mo. His opening words "Worthy Grand Matron, Worthy Grand Patron" referred to the President's sister, Mary Jane Truman, and to Judge Byrne E. Bigger, both of whom were installed in their respective posts that evening.
See also Item 314.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project.  John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.