Sunday, July 11, 2010


(I take no credit for this posting. I received it as an e-mail but I can’t resist sharing it with you … )

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 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 . Bess Truman inherited that 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, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices.

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!”


Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--I admire Harry Truman for many reasons. His plainness, down-to-the-point approach is very appealing.
Some of the details--e.g. turning down Secret Service--was something he could "afford" to do. Keep in mind: Kennedy had not been assassinated. Sadly, our country now is so divisive and so violent that a former president cannot forego such protection.

12:32 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

I saw that email too. I have to say that although I was a child when he was president, the more I hear and read about him now, the more respect I have for him. It's too bad that more of our elected officials don't take after his ethics!!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

He was a character. I like his no nonsense style. Thanks for sharing this.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Before my time, but he seems like an admirable guy. I don't think they make them like Harry any more.

4:12 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Agree with the previous comments,Ginnie, HST was sure one interesting guy!

5:39 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Wonderful post Ginnie, Amen to that Harry! Thanks for the bit of interesting history! Love Di ♥

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AHHHH! Good old Harry may have been our last 'honest polititian'.

3:13 PM  

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