Growing Up with Grandpa Clifton Truman Daniel Says Harry Truman Was Unlike Today's Career Politicians

By Spak, Kara | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

Growing Up with Grandpa Clifton Truman Daniel Says Harry Truman Was Unlike Today's Career Politicians


Spak, Kara, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Kara Spak Daily Herald Staff Writer

It's been nearly 50 years since President Harry S Truman spoke these words in his Jan. 15, 1953, farewell address to the American people:

"I have a deep and abiding faith in the destiny of free men. With patience and courage, we shall some day move on into a new era - a wonderful golden age - an age when we can use the peaceful tools that science has forged for us to do away with poverty and human misery everywhere on earth."

America is still searching for Truman's ideals - and looking back to the country's 33rd President for wisdom.

Truman ascended to the presidency after the April 1945 death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. He defied the expectations of nearly all political pundits and prognosticators by soundly defeating New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 election.

But for Clifton Truman Daniel, one of Harry Truman's grandsons, growing up with his grandfather was in many ways the most normal of experiences.

"I didn't realize he'd been president until I was 6," Daniel said. "For six years, he was just someone to jump around on his lap and get cookies from. It didn't hit me until I was older. When I was younger, I just preferred to run around and toss the football with him."

Daniel's childhood memories of his grandfather, as well as his adult memories on Truman's legacy, will form a discussion Sunday at the Huntley Public Library. The event is sold out.

Daniel, a former reporter at a North Carolina newspaper who is now the public relations director at Chicago's Truman College, is the author of "Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry Truman." Huntley is one of many suburban communities where he has spoken in the past. He gives as many as six or seven speaking engagements each month.

Interest in Truman may be higher than ever because of a 1993 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography penned by David McCullough. Daniel also suggests his popularity may come from the fact that Truman, who died when Daneil was 15, was the last "civilian president."

"He was for whom the presidency was intended," Daniel said. "He was the common man president, self-educated and the last president who didn't go to college. He brought to office the concerns of most Americans and the heart of the country. He had been a farmer, been a small businessman. He led the life of many Americans when he got into office."

Daniel said the presidents that followed were career politicians.

"Today we don't have that," he said. …

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