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One Soldier’s Death Haunted President Truman for the Rest of His Life

Posted on June 26th, 2014 by Ben Spera

Truman-letterWilliam Banning was a Connecticut father whose young son died in the Korean War. After losing his son, Banning sent a short letter along with his son’s Purple Heart Medal to then-President Harry Truman. This letter, along with the Purple Heart Medal, was found in President Truman’s desk after his death in 1972, over 20 years later. In the President’s latter years, Truman names his decision over whether to enter the Korean War as the most difficult decision he had to make during his presidency.

The letter that this grieving father wrote to the President is very blunt and honest. We can easily determine Mr. Banning’s thoughts and feelings on his son’s loss. The President’s feelings, however, are more difficult to ascertain. I think we can safely assume that he took this father’s loss very personally, and didn’t take either of the Banning men’s sacrifices lightly. This small discovery shows President Truman’s character and his measure of genuine compassion for all that these American families had to give due to his decisions.

Mr. Banning’s letter and his son’s Medal are hanging at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. Perhaps someday we will again have honorable men, such as President Truman, leading out country.

Source: Daily Kos


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