Truman Proclamation inscribed to the first White House Chief of Staff, John SteelmanHarry S. Truman Proclamation Signed "Harry S Truman" as President with Handwritten Sentiment. One page, 14.25" x 21.5" (sight), Washington, D.C., printed May 8, 1945. Following the end of the war in Europe, this multicolored lithograph proclaims "Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day of prayer." With a lengthy inscription and large signature in the lower left margin, the president, whose birthday was May 8, has written, "This was a happy birthday for me. I hope this will be a happy Christmas for you. To Hon. John R. Steelman and Mrs. Steelman. 12/25/45." Steelman served as the first assistant to the President of the United States (a position today known as the White House Chief of Staff) from 1946 through 1953.
The printed proclamation reads, in part: "...The Allied armies, through sacrifice and devotion and with God's help, have wrung from Germany a final and unconditional surrender. The western world has been freed of the evil forces which for five years and longer have imprisoned the bodies and broken the lives of millions upon millions of free-born men. They have violated their churches, destroyed their homes, corrupted their children, and murdered their loved ones. Our Armies of Liberation have restored freedom to these suffering peoples, whose spirit and will the oppressors could never enslave... For the triumph of spirit and of arms which we have won, and of its promise to peoples everywhere who join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we, as a nation, give thanks to Almighty God, Who has strengthened us and given us the victory. Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945 to be a day of prayer... In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed."
President Truman read this proclamation at a news conference held in his office at the White House at 8:35 A.M. on Tuesday, May 8, 1945. His wife and daughter, members of his Cabinet, high ranking United States and British Army and Navy officials, and Congressional leaders were grouped in chairs around the president's desk. Before reading the proclamation, President Truman said, "This is a solemn but glorious hour. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the United Nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe. It's celebrating my birthday, too -- today, too." Reporters responded with shouts of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President." As he was reading the proclamation, he stopped after certain passages to comment. After "The victory won in the West must now be won in the East," he said, "I want that emphasized time after time, that we are only half through." After "the tyranny of military cliques that once called us soft and weak," Truman commented, "I would like to know what the Germans think about that now." After proclaiming the day of prayer, he added, "And it's exceedingly fitting that it is Mother's Day, too." This impressive proclamation is double-matted and framed under glass to an overall size of 22" x 29". Very fine condition.
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