By Jack Hackley
Gov. Warren Hearnes’ Inauguration in 1965 mirrored a national Presidential Inauguration. It was the most elaborate and colorful the state had ever seen or would see in the future.
Hearnes had challenged the establishment that controlled the governor’s office for years and when he won the election, suddenly the outsiders in state government were the insiders and we wanted everyone to know it. Hearnes appointed at least two Honorary Colonels from every county. We were fitted and paid $180, which was a lot of money back then, for our uniform. It was quite an honor. (See mine in the bio tab at www.jackremembers.com)
I hobnobbed with other Colonels including Pat Jones, owner of an insurance company who confided that he was worried what his son would do when he graduated from college that spring. His son, Jerry, now owns the Dallas Cowboys. Honorary Colonel Bill McCaskill, who would be the new insurance commissioner, had a daughter, 11, who’s now a U.S. Senator.
The Colonels led the parade in Jefferson City, the governor was sworn in at high noon, then there were three Inaugural Balls that night.
The one in the Rotunda of the Capitol was where the Colonels and their ladies promenaded down the spiral staircase in front of officials who, besides Warren and Betty, included Lt. Governor Tom Eagleton, Secretary of State Jim Kirkpatrick, State Auditor Haskel Holman, State Treasurer Mount Etna Morris, State Treasurer and Attorney General Norman Anderson.
The Colonels’ job was to participate in events during the Governor’s term in office. One day I received a letter wanting money for my share of the official portrait of the First Lady that would hang in the mansion. Woah! How much Honorary Colonel can I afford?