Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Landry, Robert B. (Robert Broussard), 1909-2000; Vaughan, Harry H., 1893-1981; Connally, Tom, 1877-1963; Truman, Bess Wallace, 1885-1982; Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826; Sawyer, Charles, 1887-1979
Religions; Memorials; Labor disputes; Cabinet officers; Legislators; Wreath laying ceremonies

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, April 13, 1952. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

April 13, 1952

Jefferson's birthday. Bess & I walk across Lafayette Square to St. John's Church for 8 o'clock service. Mr. Searles, one of the White House ushers, tells Mrs. T. she's done a good deed-taking a Baptist to an Episcopal service. I've gone with her time and again to her service-and she has gone with me to the 1st Baptist church.

I've never been of the opinion that Almighty God cares for the building or the form that a believer approaches the Maker of Heaven and Earth. "When two or three are gathered together" or when one asks for help from God he'll get it just as surely as will planoplied occupants of any pulpit. Forms and ceremonies impress a lot of people, but I've never thought that The Almighty could be impressed by anything but the heart and soul of the individual. That's why I'm a Baptist, whose church authority starts from the bottom-not the top. So much for churches.

Charlie Sawyer came to see me about the steel situation. I told him to sit tight and run the plants until settlement failed and then I'd direct him to take further action.

After Mr. Sawyer left, Tom Connally came to see me and told me that he did not intend to file for re-election in Texas. Said he would be 75 years old this year and he'd decided to quit. He said he wanted me informed before I saw it in the papers. I appreciated his telling me about it. He said that he felt as I did-that he should quit while he had time to live happily a few years. Wise man.

At 12:20 I went to the Jefferson Memorial and had my Military Aide, General Vaughan, and my Air Force Aide, General Landry, lay a wreath in front of Thomas Jefferson's statue in the memorial that bears his name.

I've been present at wreath layings at Lincoln Memorial for seven years-and I decided that Jefferson, who made the greatest contribution to our system of government, should have the same sort of recognition from the President. Noted by their absence were the Lincoln zealots-but those present at the Jefferson ceremony had always been present at the Lincoln ceremony. Sometimes "broadmindedness" is a one way street.


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