THE PRESIDENCY: Dear Hearts & Gentle People

Some days it was the little, everyday things that crept up and overwhelmed a man with thoughts of life's swift pace and inexorable end. Harry Truman had one day like that last week.

It began with a perfunctory White House morning schedule, including a check to see whether flowers had been dispatched to the funeral of his good friend, Roger Sermon, mayor of Independence, Mo. Then it shifted to Washington's Episcopal Cathedral of St. Peter & St. Paul. There, on an unseasonably balmy afternoon, bareheaded Harry Truman and Bess, too warm in...

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