June 8, 1952
Friday, at noon, Mrs. Truman, her mother, Vietta, Dr. Graham and two of my aides, Gen. Vaughan and General Landry, along with Joe Short, Mrs. Short, Matt Connelly and Ted Marks, took off on the Independence for Grandview and Springfield.
We landed at Grandview Air Port at 1:40 Central Standard Time-3:40 Eastern Day Light Time-a monstrosity in time keeping.
Bess, her mother, Dr. Graham and Vietta went to Independence. My brother Vivian and sister Mary met me at the airport and went on to Springfield with me. It took us 35 minutes to fly the 200 miles which usually takes 4 1/2 hours to drive and 7 or 8 hours on the train.
Capt. Allen, of the Corps of Engineers, in charge of construction, insisted that I take a look at what is being done to the Grandview Air Port. It was an interesting tour.
Vivian's wife, Luella, and Harry's wife were at the airport with Harry's two daughters-one of them brand new. Both lovely children.
Arrived at Springfield about 1/4 of an hour ahead of schedule. We could see at least five acres of cars parked around the airfield before we landed. It was estimated that 5 or 6 thousand people were there to meet me. Actually there were between 10 & 15 thousand. The first estimate was by a hostile local newspaper-but very liberal indeed from that source.
Drove into Springfield in an open car with Vivian & Mary in the back seat with me. It was like 1948. There were at least 100 thousand people on the streets yelling as usual "Hello Harry," "There he is" and "We want you again." But I am sorry to write, "They can't have me again."
At the Colonial Hotel the streets were jammed in every direction with enthusiastic fans.
Had dinner with the family, in a room next door to my suite. Gen. Ralph E. Truman was host. Olive, his wife, Henrietta Davidson, his daughter, Anna Davidson, his granddaughter, Mary & Vivian and Roma Colgan who is the wife of Rochester Colgan, a grandson of Aunt Emma, one of my father's sisters, were present.
Soon as dinner was over we went to the Shrine Mosque where a wonderful entertainment was given by the 35th Division Committee. The winners of the Square Dance contest danced for us. They were wonderful.
A team of children, all under six, danced a beautiful square dance with a pretty little girl also under six as the caller.
Then Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy Davis with Gene Nelson, Virginia Gibson and Mrs. Grover Cleveland Alexander came over from the premiere of "The Winning Team" and gave us a half hour of grand entertainment.
We than adjourned to Ralph's new home and had a most pleasant evening. Went back to the Colonial Hotel about 11 P.M. and went to bed.
Was up and around at 5:30 A.M. on the 7th. My brother had the adjoining bedroom in the suite. He was up about the same time and we discussed Missouri politics, the farm at Grandview, the proposed Cultural Center I wanted to set up, the price of land, roads etc.
Before I went to bed Matt Connelly, Vivian and Ralph tried to argue me out of the march in the parade. I wouldn't be convinced. Most every morning I take a two mile walk at the rate of 128 steps a minute and I just knew that the two mile parade at 120 steps a minute would be easy. It was although it was 100 degrees in the shade-and we marched in the sun!
Went from the hotel to breakfast in the basement of the Mosque. The two Batteries, D & F, with which I served in World War I were well represented. I was pleased and highly complimented that so many in each organization turned out.
I was presented with a medal and made a member of the Hill Billy organization. A person is not eligible unless he's witnessed a fox hunt, hillbilly style. I've been present at several but for the purposes of the show they put on a recorded one. Started with roosters crowing and then the hounds barking in the chase. They presented the medal and the certificate.
It was up to me then to accept. I thanked them for the honor and told them that I would suggest that they have a game rooster to do the crowing instead of the Shanghai because the game would do the crowing more expeditiously. Told them that I recognized the voice of "Old Blue" and "Old Bob," two of the hounds, and explained to them that I received hardly any medals but that I was the target for a lot of bricks!
Then I told them that my most pleasant duty is conferring medals on men who earn them. Reminded them that on last Monday I had given Gen. Eisenhower his fourth Medal. That I'd given Gen. MacArthur one at Wake Island and conferred a large number on various leaders in World War II, that I had handed out more Congressional Medals of Honor than all the Presidents before me put together had done.
Then I told them of my experience in giving Gen. Wainwright a Congressional Medal of Honor in the rose garden of the White House. He had become very emotional and told me he had expected to be court-martialed instead of receiving the highest military award.
Then I told them about the big Captain on whom I'd conferred the Cong. Medal of Honor. He captured or killed a great many Germans in a little village on the drive to Berlin. When he ran out of grenades he threw rocks at the houses and the Germans came out and gave up because they thought the rocks were grenades.
When I placed the medal on him I told him I didn't want him to throw rocks at me. He said "Oh no, Mr. President, I wouldn't do that. I'm more scared now than I was in that village."
After breakfast we went upstairs to a very solemn and impressive memorial service. When that was over we went to Ralph's home and sat until the parade started.
I rode in the car for a couple of blocks and then walked the 2.2 miles to the reviewing stand. Stood and reviewed the parade for an hour, as wet as a rat in the ocean.
We then went to the Shrine Mosque to await the broadcasting time for the speech. It seemed to go over in a big way. Editorials in various metropolitan papers were favorable-for a wonder-and the speech was rebroadcast on a number of stations.
From the Mosque, we went to the airport and took off for the Capital City. As usual shook hands with all the police, local, state and national.
As soon as the plane was under way I took a bath, changed clothes from the skin out and never felt better! If I had not walked-oh my.
Arrived in Washington at 6:09 eastern day light time.
Margie was at the airport.
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