Truman Day is celebrated every May 8 in Missouri and the weekday closest to May 8, if it falls on a weekend, nationally. Did you know that it was Truman that decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the final months of World War II? Truman Day is a state holiday in Missouri, where state employees are allowed paid off-day. It’s a special day in Missouri as Harry S. Truman is the only U.S. president from the state. The day is also celebrated nationally by the United States Democratic Party. Truman Day focuses on celebrating the legacy of Truman during his term as a senator and a president.
History of Truman Day
Harry S. Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri, to John Anderson Truman and Martha Ellen Young Truman. His parents gave him the middle initial, ‘S,’ to honor his grandfathers, Anderson Shipp Truman and Solomon Young. In 1890, his parents moved to Independence, Missouri, where Truman worked as a Shabbos goy for his Jewish neighbors. Between 1901 and 1906, Truman worked as a mail boy at The Kansas City Star, a timekeeper at the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway, and a bank clerk at the Kansas City’s National Bank of Commerce. While serving in the Missouri National Guard from 1905 to 1911, Truman returned to his family’s farm near Grandview in 1906 and took over its management. After the United States joined the Great War in 1917, Truman reenlisted in the National Guard and was sent abroad to France. He became the captain of Battery D and saw action at Saint Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne.
After returning to the U.S. in 1919, Truman married Elizabeth ‘Bess’ Wallace. On February 17, 1924, the couple had their only child, Mary Margaret Truman, who later became a professional singer and an author. With the support of Thomas Pendergast, Truman launched his political career, becoming a county judge of Jackson County’s eastern district in 1922. In 1926, he became a presiding judge of the county court, where he served two four-year terms. In 1934, when it seemed Truman’s political career was coming to an end, Pendergast reluctantly decided to back him for a seat in the U.S. Senate — that was after his first four choices refused. In January 1935, Truman was sworn into the U.S. Senate as Missouri’s junior senator.
During his term as a senator, Truman contributed to two critical pieces of legislation, the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 and the Wheeler-Truman Transportation Act of 1940. He also chaired the Committee on Military Affairs Subcommittee on War Mobilization that reportedly saved the country about $15 billion. In 1944, he was picked over Henry A. Wallace to run as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president. On January 20, 1945, he was sworn into the office of the vice president of the United States. Roosevelt died of a brain hemorrhage eighty-two days into his presidency, and Truman was sworn in as president immediately. Truman presided over the end of World War II, the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the First Indochina War, the Korean War, and the start of the Cold War during his two years as president. He left the White House in January 1953 and built the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.
Truman Day timeline
On May 8, Martha Ellen Young Truman gives birth to Harry S. Truman in Lamar, Missouri.
Truman re-enlists in the National Guard, serving abroad in France.
In January, Truman takes the oath of office to become the junior Senator for Missouri.
On April 12, Harry S. Truman becomes the 33rd President of the United States after the death of Roosevelt on the same day.
Truman Day FAQs
What major events happened during Truman’s presidency?
Some of the significant events that occurred during Truman’s presidency include the death of Roosevelt, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the end of World War II, the enactment of the Truman Doctrine, the creation of the N.S.C., the CIA, and the DoD, the desegregation of the armed forces, and the establishment of NATO and the U.N.
Why is Truman important?
Truman is important mainly because he was a former senator and a former president of the United States
How old was Harry Truman when he became president?
When Truman became the president of the United States on April 15, 1945, he was 61 years old.
How to Observe Truman Day
Visit the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
One of the ways to celebrate Truman Day is by visiting the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. It’s home to President Truman’s historical materials. You can browse through the laws enacted during his term and enjoy the various interactive exhibitions available in the library & museum.
Participate in Truman Day’s events
Various events take place in Missouri on Truman Day. That includes Truman’s Got Talent, Truman Day Baby & Toddler Show, yard sales, and more. Check online for when these activities will happen, and make sure to participate in at least one of them.
Share your best wishes
If you can’t participate in Truman Day’s events or visit Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, you can wish other Americans, especially those in Missouri, a happy Truman Day. Go ahead and share your best wishes on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #TrumanDay.
5 Interesting Facts About Truman
The ‘S’ in his name stands for nothing
After debating over his middle name, Truman’s parents decided to give him the middle name, ‘S,’ which doesn’t stand for a name.
He owned a men’s clothing store
Before becoming a politician, Truman and his friend, Eddie Jacobson, briefly owned a haberdashery in Kansas City.
He survived an assassination
Two Puerto Rican independence fighters tried to assassinate Truman at Blair House, but he survived without injury.
He was a VP for 82 days
Truman only spent 82 days in office as vice president before he was sworn in as president.
NATO and the U.N.
He contributed to establishing the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Why Truman Day is Important
It honors the legacy of Truman
Aside from taking the decisive step to end World War II, Truman during his presidential term helped establish the U.N. and NATO during his presidential term, supported the economic recovery in war-torn western Europe, established the N.S.C., the CIA, and the N.S.A., and ended racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces, and more. He also had several achievements during his term as Missouri senator, Jackson County’s judge, and presiding judge. Truman Day is dedicated to celebrating all these achievements and his continued impact on the new generation of politicians.
Truman Day recognizes people with Truman’s qualities
On Truman Day, the City of Independence gives the ‘Harry S Truman Public Service Award’ to a person who demonstrates the same qualities in their position as Truman did. That encourages people to continue to emulate the best qualities of Truman and strive for excellence in whatever position they find themselves in.
It’s an opportunity to educate young people
Truman Day also serves as an opportunity to educate young people on United States political history, its constitution, and the various bills, acts, and amendments. It’s also a time to educate young people about how to partake in the political scene and make their voices heard.
Truman Day dates