Some of you already know this, but let me tell you about President Harry Truman. You know, Harry Truman was a truly humble man. I think that even added to his greatness. He was the right man at the right time. America was lucky to have this fine man as president, as well as his very reluctant first lady, Bess.
You probably won't believe this happened, but it did. You know, in a way, this seems unreal.
Harry Truman was a different kind of president. One of his sayings was, "The Buck Stops Here."
He was known to take daily brisk walks through Washington, D.C., streets. In today's world, that is not likely to happen again! Once a crazed gunman got into the White House lawn, gunshots were fired! It woke Harry up, and he proceeded to open the window, and yelled out to the secret-service people, "What the hell is going on?"
You know, Harry probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 presidents preceding him. One of them was his decision to use the atomic bomb which ended World War II. Others being his negotiating the truce that ended the Korean War, and the firing of Gen. Douglas MacAthur. Truman and MacAthur did not see eye to eye on the war. Truman wanted to negotiate a truce, and MacAthur did not believe in fighting a limited war. Therefore, Truman fired the five star general.
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 around $13,000 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. "Wasn't that thoughtful of them?"
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, in May 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."
Did you know, as president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food?
Today, modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. You know, "political offices are now for sale."
But 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!" ... "Ha."
We ought to dig him up and clone him!
Robert D. Carnes