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Truman Proposed 'Fair Deal' Plan for World; Challenge to Communism Voiced at InauguralBy Edward T. Folliard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 21, 1949; Page A01
Harry S. Truman, hero of the great political drama of 1948, was sworn in yesterday for a four-year term -- a quadrennium he hopes will see "a major turning point in the long history of the human race."
A dazzling sun glorified the city as the 64-year-old Missourian took the oath, delivered an audacious address, and rode in triumph from the Capitol to the White House at the head of a seven-mile long parade.
An estimated million men, women and children turned out for the celebration, probably the greatest inaugural throng in history.
Ecstasy of Cheering
They went into an ecstasy of cheering and waving as President Truman moved into view, Vice President Alben W. Barkley at his side. Bands whooped it up with "I'm Just Wild About Harry," and "My Old Kentucky Home." A wind, whistling out of the north, straightened out the flags and scattered the confetti that tumbled from office and hotel windows.
Television cameras, in use for the first time at an inaugural, carried the dramatic spectacle to millions outside of Washington.
Some things television may have missed. There was, for example, the enigmatic expression on the face of Alexander Panyushkin, Russian Ambassador to the United States, as Mr. Truman excoriated communism and called for a world-wide effort to counter it with "peace, plenty and freedom."
The Chief Executive himself wore such an expression when Gov. J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina passed the White House reviewing stand. Gov. Thurmond, presidential nominee of the States' Rights (Dixiecrat) Party in the recent campaign, rode by waving gaily. Mr. Truman had nothing for him but a blank look. Elsewhere along the line, the South Carolinian got cheers and boos.
The tremendous crowd lining Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues was a happy crowd, the most joyous to turn out for an inaugural in many a year.
Battery D is Honor Guard
The roar that it sent up reached a crescendo as the President and Vice President, their oaths taken, rode by in a shiny black Lincoln with its top down, the Stars and Stripes and the Presidential Flag flying from its bumper.
The affectionate uproar sounded in the ears of the President and Vice President almost continuously from the time they left Blair House to go to the Capitol.
The return journey to the White House had started out to the tune of the rollicking artillery song -- "The Caissons Go Rolling Along." More than 17,600 marched in the gala parade.
The multitude, however, had a much more striking reminder of the President's soldiering days in the honor guard that shuffled along beside him. This was made up of 103 survivors of old Battery D, which he led into battle in France in 1918. Red bands about their arms, swinging along proudly, they were thrilled as they had not been in more than 31 years -- since that day in Alsace when "Captain Harry" ordered their first barrage against the German foe.
Mr. Truman, up before dawn after only 4½ hours sleep, had a breakfast of ham and hominy with his Battery D comrades at 7 o'clock in the morning. His order of the day to them was:
"After 1 o'clock or 25 minutes thereafter or thereabouts, I don't give a damn what you do; but I want you to stay sober until that time."
The ceremony at the Capitol, which saw Mr. Truman reach the summit of a romantic career, was late in getting started and was solemn in comparison to what was to follow.
On the way down Pennsylvania Ave., as the presidential party was bound for the Hill, a woman waved a placard at Mr. Truman which read, "Even Iowa Voted Democratic." This was the first of many reminders that were to come of the indomitable Missourian's astonishing victory in the '48 election.
© Copyright 1949 The Washington Post Company