Presidents Day certainly brings to mind two all-time favorites: George and Abraham.
But around here, in a town that shares Kansas and Missouri, it’s also about our own A-listers: Harry and Ike.
This year, anniversaries abound in connection with the lives and presidencies of Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, so allow us to kick off the 2015 festivities with our first-ever Harry & Ike Quiz. Test yourself and your family and friends, or just play for fun and bank some presidential trivia.
The year 1945 was momentous for Truman and the world, and the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence is planning several 70th anniversary events this year. Truman became president in April, celebrated the Allied victory in Europe in May and made the historic decision to drop the atomic bombs in August.
Never miss a local story.
The library also has plans for Presidents Day on Monday. “Presidential” cookies will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Truman, portrayed by Niel Johnson, will greet visitors and hold occasional news conferences until 2:30 p.m.
Down the road in Abilene, Kan., about 150 miles from Kansas City, the Eisenhower Presidential Center is planning a big birthday bash: It’s the 125th anniversary of Eisenhower’s birth in October. The center also will commemorate 70th anniversary World War II events, pivotal, too, for Gen. Eisenhower.
Americans are forever curious about their presidents. Many visitors to the Truman library ask about the famous desk sign, “The Buck Stops Here,” says Mark Adams, education director, and they want to see the nearly exact replica of Truman’s Oval Office, reproduced from photographs. (The size of the office is off a smidge.)
Visitors to the Eisenhower library want to view the family home, which is on the grounds, says Tim Rives, deputy director, and often ask about Eisenhower’s secretary Kay Summersby and the alleged extent of their relationship. Apparently we enjoy celebrity gossip, even if it’s decades old.
Presidential library documents and summaries were the source of our quiz questions. Watch their websites — TrumanLibrary.org and Eisenhower.Archives.gov — for information about 2015 anniversary events.
THE HARRY AND IKE QUIZ
1. Where are the birthplaces of Harry and Ike, respectively?
A. Independence, Mo., and Abilene, Kan.
B. Kansas City, Mo., and Abilene, Texas
C. Lamar, Mo., and Denison, Texas
D. Sedalia, Mo., and Atchison, Kan.
2. Harry said, “I missed being a musician, and the real and only reason I missed being one is because I wasn’t good enough.” What instrument was he talking about?
3. An athlete, Ike loved baseball and football, but he excelled at many endeavors, including making these. He badgered his mother to teach him the process and had a little side business selling them. What were they?
C. Bolo ties
D. Knitted caps
4. Harry lived at the Truman Farm Home, a site now run by the National Park Service, as a young boy and again as a young man. Where’s the farm?
A. Sedalia, Mo.
B. Concordia, Mo.
C. Platte City, Mo.
D. Grandview, Mo.
5. YES or NO: Harry’s haberdashery business, a partnership with his war buddy Eddie Jacobson, didn’t last long, closing in the early 1920s.
A. Yes, the store succumbed to that era’s economic recession.
B. No, Jacobson bought out his partner’s half when Harry decided to run for office in Jackson County.
6. How tall was Harry?
A. 6 feet
B. 5 feet 10 inches
C. 5 feet 8 inches
D. 5 feet 6 inches
7. How tall was Ike?
A. 5 feet 7 inches
B. 5 feet 10 inches
C. 6 feet
D. 6 feet 2 inches
8. YES or NO: Ike’s boyhood home in Abilene, Kan., put the town on the map, but even earlier it featured another famous name: Wild Bill Hickock, town marshal.
A. No, you’re thinking of Wyatt Earp.
B. Yes, and Ike invoked Hickok’s name in speeches.
9. Ike was a five-star general in World War II, of course, and while Harry never attained such high rank, he did command an artillery unit during World War I. Where did it fight?
D. North Africa
10. We know it as D-Day, when Gen. Eisenhower launched the Allied invasion of Europe. What code name did the military use?
A. Operation Overland
B. Operation Omaha
C. Operation Overlord
D. Operation Overlock
11. Harry had been vice president for only 82 days in 1945 when he heard these words: “Harry, the president is dead.” Who spoke them?
A. Bess Truman
B. Gen. Douglas MacArthur
C. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn
D. Eleanor Roosevelt
12. Tourists loved the Eisenhowers’ Weimaraner, which lived in the White House and roamed its grounds. Was the dog’s name Heidi?
B. No, it was General
13. Pretty much nobody thought Harry had a chance to beat New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey in the 1948 presidential election, but voters would decide otherwise. What newspaper is Harry holding up in the famous photo, the one with the “Dewey Defeats Truman” banner headline?
A. The Kansas City Star
B. St. Louis Post-Dispatch
C. Chicago Tribune
D. New York Post
14. YES or NO: Everybody knows about the motto Harry displayed on his desk: The Buck Stops Here. But Ike had one, too, on a paperweight. It was the Kansas state motto: “To the Stars Through Difficulties.”
B. No, the inscription said “Duty, Honor, Country”
C. No, the inscription said “Gently in Manner — Strongly in Deed”
15. To much outcry, Harry spent $10,000 to add something to the stately, columned south portico of the White House. What caused such an uproar?
A. A barbecue smoker
B. A gallery of state flags
C. A staircase
D. A balcony
16. Who was Ike’s vice president?
A. Barry Goldwater
B. Richard M. Nixon
C. Nelson Rockefeller
D. Thomas E. Dewey
17. Who was Harry’s vice president?
A. Hubert Humphrey
B. Alben Barkley
C. Henry A. Wallace
D. Lyndon Johnson
18. Harry was fired up when he wrote a note to a newspaper reviewer who lambasted a singing performance: “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!” Whom was Harry defending?
A. His wife, Bess
B. His daughter, Margaret
C. Dinah Shore
D. Doris Day
19. Harry had a presidential yacht, the “seagoing White House” named the U.S.S. Williamsburg, but it has been slowly decaying for years. Where is it?
A. In a Honolulu harbor
B. In a shipyard in Italy
C. In the Potomac River
D. In a New Jersey marina
20. In photos of Truman’s Oval Office on Aug. 28, 1950 — the pictures are the basis for the library’s replica — what sits on top of the television? No one has yet learned its significance.
A. An apple
B. A martini glass
C. An ear of corn
D. A small replica of the Oval Office
21. YES OR NO: As president, Harry issued an executive order to abolish racial segregation in the armed forces.
A. Yes, and one to end segregation in the civil service.
B. No, that would have to wait until the 1960s.
22. YES or NO: As president, Ike sent federal troops to enforce court-ordered integration at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.
A. No, that was President Kennedy.
B. Yes, and he also signed the historic 1957 Civil Rights Act.
23. YES or NO: Harry signed an act creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA.
A. No, that was President Johnson.
B. No, that was Ike.
C. Yes, Truman considered space our next frontier.
24. President Kennedy reactivated Ike’s commission as a five-star general in the U.S. Army. Who was the other U.S. president to re-enter the armed forces after leaving the presidency?
A. George Washington
B. James Monroe
C. Andrew Jackson
D. Zachary Taylor
25. After World War II, before he became president in 1953, what civilian job did Ike hold?
A. President of Columbia University
B. President of General Motors
C. President of General Electric
D. Superintendent of West Point
26. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson sought advice on international affairs from Ike. Where did they call him?
A. At his estate in New York’s Hudson River Valley
B. At his ranch in Kansas’ Flint Hills
C. At his ranch in South Dakota’s Black Hills
D. At his farm near Gettysburg, Pa.
27. In his farewell address, Ike warned of this “complex.”
A. The “militant-retail complex”
B. The “Communist propaganda complex”
C. The “advertising-psychology complex”
D. The “military-industrial complex”
28. Harry retired to Independence, called himself “Mr. Citizen” and famously did this.
A. Ran for mayor of Independence
B. Became a minister
C. Became reclusive
D. Took long, brisk walks
29. Ike famously said, “The proudest thing I can claim is that …
A. … I am from Abilene.”
B. … I stayed true to my promises.”
C. … I moved our nation forward.”
D. … I brought an end to the Korean conflict.”
30. Harry and Bess Truman are buried together, as are Ike and Mamie Eisenhower. Where?
A. On the White House grounds
B. At Washington National Cathedral
C. At Harry’s and Ike’s birthplaces
D. At their respective presidential libraries
1. C. Their boyhood homes were Independence and Abilene, Kan.
2. C. As a boy, Harry was passionate about practicing.
3. B. Ike’s mother learned to make them in Texas.
4. D. Grandview, in its pre-suburban days.
5. A. Harry made good contacts there.
6. C. Some references give him another inch.
7. B. You thought he was taller.
8. B. Ike loved Westerns.
9. A. His men credited “Captain Harry” for keeping them alive.
10. C. The landing at Normandy was called Operation Neptune.
11. D. She was said to have put her arm around him.
12. A. They also had a parakeet.
13. C. The Republican-leaning Tribune once called him a “nincompoop.”
14. C. Although “B,” the West Point motto, was a good guess.
15. D. Looks like it was meant to be there.
16. B. And the rest is history.
17. B. He was sort of a big deal at the time.
18. B. Margaret Truman Daniel went on to write mysteries and biographies.
19. B. Apparently up for sale, if you’re interested.
20. C. Wish it had been a martini glass.
21. A. Executive orders come in handy that way.
22. B. Prelude to a troubled decade.
23. B. Take that, Russians.
24. A. So that’s some good company.
25. A. Some say it wasn’t a match made in heaven.
26. D. It also had been a family retreat and meeting place during his presidency.
27. D. Surprising words from a president and general.
28. D. With hat and cane.
29. A. He was proud of his humble upbringing.
30. D. Their final homecoming.