My last two trips out of town have been for Harry Truman-related events. Earlier this year I went to DC, when the statue of HST was installed in the U.S. Capitol. This week I was humming: “Kansas City Here I Come!” The annual Truman Library fundraiser, aptly titled “Wild About Harry”, was held at the Muehlebach Hotel. The festive occasion attracted nearly a 1000 attendees and raised more than a million dollars for civics education at the Truman Library.
Looking Back with Doris
I had the good fortune of being seated next to Doris Kearns Goodwin at the dinner. Now, I’ve sat next to such grandees as Margaret Thacker, Martha Stewart, and Barbara Bush, but I’ve never sat with anyone more charming and down to earth. I felt like I was dining with a neighbor, albeit a very well-informed one.
An Ode to HST
Goodwin informed, amused and inspired her audience during the question and answer exchange. Her responses included historical tidbits and unique accomplishments of both Truman and Lyndon Johnson. (She assisted in LBJ’s memories). Goodwin’s seven books include her study of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. Both Doris and her husband worked in the LBJ White House, where the gifted young man was the primary speech writer for the president.
Doris reminded us of such Truman quotes as:
- America was not built on fear.
- There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.
- It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
- We know the way, what we need is the will to follow it.
More to Come
Goodwin’s latest book about the 60’s and 70s is set for publication next year. Research came from the many boxes of memorabilia that she and her, now- deceased, husband had collected over the years.
Retired Admiral Michelle Howard, another speaker of the evening, was the first black woman, (or any woman), to achieve the rank of four-star admiral and the first to command a naval ship. The petite, but spunky officer was heartwarming, often humorous, and greatly motivating.
More Fizz to the Evening
It was also good to be with Clifton Truman Daniel. He always brings a touch of nostalgia to such occasions with recollections of his grandfather.
The Muehlebach chefs rounded out the stunning soiree with one of the best meals I’ve been served at such large dinners. Kudos to my friend Ursula Terrasi, husband Jim Miller, and the steering committee that made the event a such a success.
On the Move
I returned home the next day, refreshed by visiting with old friends and seeing the many signs of civic progress on the western side of our state. The newly built billion-dollar-air terminal made me feel like I was in LA. A new bridge is underway that’s set to open next year. And the Truman Library’s has a new facelift, making it one of the finest of the presidential libraries. More recently, the Kansas City Chiefs racked up a Super Bowl victory. As we walked through the train station we saw all the apparatus being put in place for the upcoming NFL drawing. All eyes will be on that one.
More to come in my next post about our trek across the state on Amtrak . . . .