Former President Harry S. Truman, having left office just two months earlier, visited Los Angeles Harbor on March 23, 1953 and left a couple of days later. He and his family arrived in Wilmington aboard the SS President Cleveland, on their way to Hawaii. Truman was in a jovial mood and remarked that this was his first vacation in 30 years. While in the harbor, he greeted Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron and members of the Harbor Commission.
The highlight of Truman’s brief stay at the port was the luncheon he had aboard the ship with twelve of his Army buddies, all of whom fought together during World War I in France. Truman played the piano for his fellow artillerymen. Several thousand people saw the Truman’s off from the harbor, while a band played the “Missouri Waltz.”