WASHINGTON (KMOX) – You can fly into Ronald Reagan National Airport, pay homage to the Lincoln Memorial, or visit the Washington Monument, but no D.C. memorial exists for Missouri’s only U.S. president, Harry S. Truman.
As Missourians celebrate Truman Day on the 130th anniversary of his birth, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today introduced legislation that would rename Washington, D.C.’s iconic Union Station the “Harry S. Truman Union Station.”
Upon introducing the bipartisan legislation—cosponsored by fellow Missouri Senator Roy Blunt—McCaskill noted that, as important as Truman’s presidency was to America’s history, there’s not even a statue to honor him in the U.S. Capitol.
“It would be a fitting tribute to have the train station just a short walk from the Capitol, that played such an important role in his presidency, bear the name of this great leader,” McCaskill said. “A gutsy straight-talker, ‘Missouri’s Favorite Son,’ and one of America’s most well-respected Presidents, Harry Truman deserves a memorial in Washington that can carry the weight of his heavy accomplishments and can remind future generations of his great legacy that inspired a nation.”
“As the only Missourian to become president, Harry Truman’s tenacity, self-education, and courage to do difficult things are appreciated by people in our state and nationwide,” said Blunt. “I’m honored to share Harry Truman’s Senate offices, and I’m pleased to co-sponsor this bill, which would appropriately recognize his leadership on behalf of all Americans.”
Union Station was home to the Presidential rail car, U.S. Car No. 1, which was used extensively by Truman during his time in the White House. When Truman left Washington, D.C., aboard the train car to embark on his famous “whistle-stop campaign” tour, his journey began and ended at Union Station. The day after his reelection, Truman returned to Washington, DC, via Union Station. As he made his way from Union Station to the White House, more than 750,000 people welcomed him back to the city. Following the inauguration of President Eisenhower in 1953, Truman departed from Union Station by train one last time with his wife, Bess. More than 5,000 people squeezed on the platform to see them off.
While in office, Truman successfully advocated for the creation of the United Nations, passed the Marshall Plan to help rebuild Turkey and Greece after World War II, and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Domestically, Truman formulated the “Fair Deal,” in which he called for a national healthcare system, higher minimum wage, and more education funding, among other goals.
Congress has the authority to rename Union Station through legislation since the station is owned by the federal government. McCaskill and Blunt both serve on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which will have jurisdiction over the legislation.
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