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The Legacy Of President Harry Truman

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 32 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House. The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence , Missouri . His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.
After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.
When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, "You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."
Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise."
As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.
Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, too many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale (ie. Illinois ).
Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!
We ought to have cloned him for telling it like it is and being frugal with our tax dollars!
(author unknown)

The "S" in Harry S. Truman doesn't stand for a name. His parents gave it to him in honor of two Grandfathers with S names. He didn't use a period after the S until he was President and a grammar teacher reprimanded him for not being "grammatically correct." He then added the period.


DMS said...

This post made me realize that I don't know enough about Harry Truman. I will have to do a little more research. Thanks for bringing him to my attention. :)

Jill Paterson said...

I think that Australian politicians could take a leaf out of Harry's book too, Anna. They're all on the gravy train nowadays.

I love Harry's two choices for his life's work as well. Priceless!

Also the house is beautiful.

Anna Maria said...

Jess, I remember well that era...Truman was the only President my Dad actively campaigned for and he barely won re-election. Thanks for wisiting.

Anna Maria said...

Jill, I think most of our politicians are "out of control." with greed. It didn't use to be like that. Truman did use a lot of salty language...too...and Dad appreciated his honest integrity. That lovely home is now a historic monument preserved by the National Park Service.


I really learned a lot when viewing Ken Burns' biographical movie on the Eisenhowers. I think he should do one on Truman too. Such a humble human being. Washington needs more people like him.

Anna Maria said...

Grace, I think there was a lot more integrity in D.C. during that era than there is now. Yes, we do need more politicians like Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. They cared about all of the American people, not just the "upper crust."

oneperson said...

Enjoyed this Anna!

I can picture President and Mrs. driving home alone from the White House. I wonder what all they thought and talked about?

Anna Maria said...

Carol...remembering how he usually expressed his feelings...he likely saluted D.C. with his middle finger out the window and exclaimed, "Hot dam...I'm glad that's over with!"