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What is Truman Day?

Some government offices will be closed Monday in observance of Truman Day, which marks the birthday of the former U.S. president.

ST. LOUIS — Truman Day, a Missouri holiday that falls on May 8, celebrates the 139th birthday of former U.S. President Harry S. Truman.

Many state and county and some city government offices across Missouri will be closed Monday in observance of the paid holiday.

Truman, born in 1884 in the farming community of Lamar, Missouri, was the only president from the Show Me State. He was a graduate of Independence High School, and his political career leading up to the White House included holding public office as a Jackson County judge and U.S. senator, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office.

The Democrat was elected to serve as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944 and took over the Oval Office just a few weeks later on April 12, 1945, when Roosevelt died, according to the state website. 

Truman's promotion to the country's most powerful office came at a crucial time during World War II. Truman was forced to make the decision of whether or not to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and orchestrate the surrender of Germany and Japan. He went on to serve two terms, according to the Harry S. Truman Library.

His presidency included important initiatives in foreign policy, according to the library, including the Truman Doctrine, which provided military aid to countries resisting communist insurgencies; the Marshall Plan, which aimed to revive the economies of European countries to drive out communism; and the North American Treaty Organization, which built a military barrier to confront the Soviet-dominated part of Europe.

His administration also expanded on civil rights in Roosevelt's New Deal, according to the library. He signed executive orders desegregating the military, forbidding racial discrimination in federal employment and establishing the Committee on Civil Rights.

In 1953, Truman decided not to run for another term and retired to Independence. He died on Dec. 26, 1972, at the age of 88.

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