Observing America – Harry & Bess


HARRYHarry & Bess
(This seems unreal.)

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 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 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. Political offices are now for sale.


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!”


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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7 Responses to Observing America – Harry & Bess

  1. ShimonZ says:

    Thanks for the reminder

  2. Thanks for that nice slice of history.

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