Apr 1, 2024 - World

Truman statue makes journey to Brussels for NATO's 75th anniversary

Truman statue

Clifton Truman Daniel, former President Truman's eldest grandson, and other guests attend the unveiling of the statue's first casting at the U.S. Capitol in September 2022. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A statue of former President Harry Truman cast at a foundry in Norman, Oklahoma, has been installed at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to NATO in Brussels ahead of the alliance's 75th anniversary this week.

Why it matters: Under Truman, the U.S. became a founding member of NATO on April 4, 1949. The alliance was formed to confront the growing threat of Soviet aggression, and has ballooned from 12 members in 1949 to 32 today.

  • That includes Finland and Sweden, who joined NATO in 2023 and 2024, respectively, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • The war has presented a massive challenge to NATO's unity and security, with the U.S. embroiled in a domestic political debate that has stalled further military aid to Ukraine.

Zoom in: The statue, which was donated to the State Department by the Truman Library Institute, will be unveiled at an anniversary celebration Wednesday at Truman Hall in Brussels.

  • It's the second casting of the statue by Missouri-based artist Tom Corbin. The first was installed in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in 2022.
  • The 2,500-pound statue and base was transported by tractor trailer from Oklahoma to Kansas City to Chicago, before completing the trans-Atlantic flight to Brussels.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith are scheduled to deliver remarks at Wednesday's ceremony, which will be attended by NATO foreign ministers and ambassadors.

The bottom line: Asked whether Truman would be surprised by Russia's ongoing threat to NATO today, his eldest grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, quoted the late president's famous saying: "There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know."

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect Clifton Truman Daniel's full name.

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