Monday, July 13, 2015

Truman Presidential Podcast: Masonic Presidential Addresses

As many of you know, my favorite president also happens to have been a prominent Mason, Harry S. Truman. In addition to being an United States Senator and United States President, he also was the Grand Master of Masons of Missouri, a 33° Scottish Rite Mason, and a Noble in the Imperial Shrine. He was also an every man. He was a guy who failed many times but instead of sitting down, licking his wounds, he would get right back up again.

One of the places I have always wanted to visit is the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO. From what some people have told me, it's one of the best presidential libraries in the country. I just recently started to explore the Truman Library's website. During my searches, I've discovered a podcast series with actual recordings made of him during speeches and visits.

Four recordings are of interest to many of us. President Truman addressed the Imperial Council Session of the Shrine of North America, a group of Masons at a breakfast at the Statler Hotel honoring Frank S. Land (doesn't sound like pancakes were present), at the 100th anniversary of the cornerstone laying of the Washington Monument, and finally, at the dedication of the large statue of George Washington at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. You can download the iTunes version of the three speeches here, here, here, and here. I was really interested that a sitting president would address the Shrine. In fact, throughout the podcast series (which you should subscribe to by clicking here), President Truman addresses a number of civic and patriotic organizations.

In his speech to the Imperial Shrine, President Truman highlights the need for a strong international response in the growing threat of undemocratic regimes. I was a little shocked and confused by the seemingly political speech at an assembly of Masons but, at the same time, it was refreshing to hear discussions of international relations during the transition period just after the Second World War. The transcript can be found here.

In his speech to an assembled breakfast crowd of Masons, President Truman gave an informal address at an annual Frank S. Land breakfast (Land being the founder of the Order of Demolay). It takes a while to get through the introductions of his staff but ultimately, we get to a rather good and interesting discussion of both Freemasonry and also, the stones and arrows great presidents have lobbed at them during and after their terms. I really enjoyed his discussion of a prominent Philadelphia newspaper's opinion of George Washington.
Dedication of George Washington Statue at the GWMMM
President Truman was also the main speaker at the dedication of the George Washington statue at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. It's a great speech concerning our first president and really worth a listen.

At the 100th Anniversary of the Cornerstone Laying
In the final speech, President Truman is speaking at the Washington Monument for a centennial celebration of the laying of its cornerstone as well as in honor of the 172nd anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It's an incredibly informative speech.

I am so thankful to the Truman Library for having so many resources available to the curious researcher. I have been getting a better understanding of Truman with each page I read.

You can learn more about my thoughts on Truman by watching Episode 65 of the Masonic Roundtable.

And I also recommend two books, Truman by David McCullough and Brother Truman by Allen Roberts.

And I'll leave you with one of my favorite President Truman quotes:
"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first."
What do you think? Leave a comment below.

1 comment:

Sean Sargent said...

I'm excited you posted about these podcasts. I've recently started reading Brother Truman and love it; in part because I live in Missouri. I plan to visit the presidential library soon since a fellow church member is the director.