OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Just after the holiday lights come on around Independence Square, in Independence, Missouri, the Independence Square Association will unveil a new statue depicting the city’s most famous citizen: Harry S. Truman.
This life-sized statue will sit on the northwest corner of the square, near Maple Avenue and Liberty Street. The bronze sculpture portrays Truman as a 32 or 33-year-old first lieutenant in the Army during World War I. He eventually rose to the rank of captain, notably leading Battery D through the war without any combat deaths.
“The most difficult part was trying to capture his likeness,” sculptor Byron Constance admitted.
The 94-year-old relied on the Truman Presidential Library and Museum and the National World War I Museum and Memorial for guidance.
He also drew on his own interactions with an older Truman. The two men shared a barber when Truman returned to Independence from the White House.
“You could discuss anything with him. He was very open and communicative,” he said. Constance recalled seeing Truman walk past his office on his morning strolls.
After doing most of the sculpting in his home studio, Constance traveled to a foundry in Colorado to finalize the bronzing process.
Cindy McClain, an amateur sculptor herself and business owner on the Square, drove the statue back from Colorado in her SUV.
“Independence needs to be proud it’s the home of one of the greatest presidents ever,” she said.
You can see the statue when it’s first unveiled Friday, Nov. 12 at 6:35 p.m. during the holiday lighting ceremony. The lighting event is also a toy drive for Community Services League’s annual Christmas shop.