Today’s motorcade for Independence Police Officer Tom Wagstaff was not the first motorcade to travel down Truman Road. On March 21, 1969, President Richard Nixon was en route to the Harry Truman home and his motorcade was rouited along Truman Road, right past VanHorn High School. Somehow the Assistant Principal got word to the school that the President was going to be passing by so the Principal promptly pulled the fire alarm. When the President’s motorcade approached the President was so moved by the presence of the student body standing along Truman Road, he stopped his motorcade, which was probably quite startling to his Secret Service detail along with the local Police escort, and gave a brief address. The following is the text of that address.
“ I AM DELIGHTED to have the opportunity, with Mrs. Nixon, to stop for a moment on our way out to see President Truman. It occurred to me that it would be worth reminding all of you that in just a month or so we will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the NATO Alliance.
Most or all of you were born since that happened, but when that happened, when President Truman was President, I was a freshman Congressman, and as a Republican, I supported this concept which was developed by a Democratic President.
What I am trying to say to you today is that this visit, shortly before President Truman’s 85th birthday, is a demonstration of the fact that where the strength of America is concerned and policies that will keep the peace of the world so that you young people will not have to be involved in any wars in the future, that we are not Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans. That is what this visit is all about.
So, we thank you very much. We wish you the very best in your work, not only in high school, but in whatever endeavor you select in the future.
I can say that I have a particular understanding and affection for not only those who are students in high school, because two of our daughters have just been through that experience and then gone on to college, but also because my wife, when I met her, was a high school teacher. So treat your teachers real well.