The first president of the United States met the 33rd president of the United States, this week, in a marvelous little ceremony, joining the Washington Library in Virginia with the Truman Library Missouri. Because of my participation, this summer, in the Teacher Institute at Mount Vernon, I was privileged to be invited to the Truman Presidential Library, on Monday, to take part in a special fifth anniversary celebration for the National Library for the Study of George Washington.
Five years ago the Washington Library opened as the research and outreach arm of George Washington's Mount Vernon. To celebrate their 5th year anniversary, they are coming to the heartland to host happy hour at the Truman Library.
On September 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., join us for trivia, prizes, drinks, heavy appetizers, and presidential precedents.
The new Washington Library Director, Dr. Kevin Butterfield, will lead the celebratory toast at 5:00 p.m. (CST) via video conference.
As Benjamin Franklin set his type, as Thomas Jefferson took pen in hand, as John Adams fought for justice, as Paul Revere reined his horse, as George Washington braved the frozen floes, as all Patriots considered the paths upon which they had set their lives, I wonder if they could as easily envision the completion of their collective journey. Surely they must have wondered where the next potholes would appear. They must have been on the constant alert to obstructions, wondering where the next warning would appear, thinking about the consequences of a missed turn.
Our founders faced the consistent threat that they would be captured and held in contempt of the crown. They could be made examples to other Patriots, spat upon by Loyalists, and tortured and killed by the authorities for their treasonous defiance of the king. This was their road to independence. Their journey was so much more treacherous than a four-lane asphalt highway.
Naturally, these two leaders, commanders-in-chief, and presidents are also connected by the Capitol City known as Washington, DC. George Washington is the only president never to have lived in the White House, but Harry Truman was displaced from the president's house for a period of time, choosing instead to have the entire interior rebuilt during his presidency. Pieces of the original house, burned by the British during the War of 1812 (our second war for independence) are on display at the museum in Independence, and colonial bricks from the rebuild of 1949-1951 have been used in the exterior of the greenhouse in Washington's Upper Garden.
Throughout history, we are reminded that the road to Independence is more than a highway across the state, and the road to independence involves more than a single declaration and surrender.