Harry Truman, born May 8, 1884, was a different kind of President. Truman probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 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 8, 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 thatI have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise."
I cannot help but contrast President Truman with politiciains and leaders of today, whose primary motives seem to be those of self-agrandizement and profit.
So, for today, I am grateful for Harry Truman, the President and the man.