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May 04, 2009
There are two birthdays this month for our Presidents, Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy. Again, these are just some facts that possibly you do not know about our presidents. Truman served as President 1945-1953, was born on May 8, 1884 in his home state of Missouri. The “S” in Truman’s name does not stand for a middle name as his parents could not decide on a middle name to honor one of his grandfathers, so he was given just the initial. This President loved to read and by the time he was fourteen years of age he had read all of the books in the Independence, Missouri library. He was a pianist and was interested in a career as a musician. Truman volunteered for the army when the United States entered World War I. He was not accepted at West Point because of his poor eyesight, but this did not hinder him from being a good soldier as men wanted to follow him wherever he went.

Truman entered politics in 1922 in Kansas City, he was a Democrat, won a local election for a county job, and entered law school at night. He did not receive his law degree but was elected to the United States Senate in 1934 and re-elected in 1940. In 1944 he became Roosevelt’s running mate and when Roosevelt was elected to a fourth term he became Vice President. Soon after Truman became President, he had to make a very difficult decision and that was whether or not to drop the atomic bomb on two cities in Japan. People to this day disagree with whether this was the right decision, but the atomic bomb led to the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. Another difficult decision was when Truman had to make the decision to enter the Korean War when North Korea invaded South Korea.

Truman was a hard worker, the United Nations was formed during his presidency and World War II ended. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed and the first computer was built.

John F. Kennedy was born May 29, 1917, he was a Democrat from Massachusetts, the youngest man ever elected President. He was also the first Roman Catholic to become President and the first one born in the twentieth century. Jack, as he was called, was the second of nine children and, like his other brothers and sisters, inherited a million dollars at the age of twenty-one. In his senior year at Harvard he became a serious student, very interested in studying politics. While recovering from a back injury playing football, he wrote a paper on England prior to World War II. He graduated with honors, and kept writing, turning this paper into a book entitled “Why England Slept.” In 1941 he enlisted in the Navy and was given command of a PT boat in the South Pacific. In August of 1943 he was commanding PT 109 when a Japanese destroyer hit his boat, cut it in half, and two of his crew were killed. Kennedy reinjured his back as they were in the water for fifteen hours.

In 1960 Kennedy ran against Richard Nixon for President and won by the closest margin ever in a presidential election. Kennedy had many new ideas and called them the New Frontier. He started VISTA and the Peace Corps. He started the United States space program and vowed to be on the moon in a decade. Two of the problems during his presidency with which he dealt were the Bay of Pigs in Cuba and the Cuban Missile Crisis. These were followed by the building of the Berlin Wall in East Germany. He believed in physical fitness, he didn’t like to wear hats, he didn’t like it when people he didn’t know touched him, and he loved to sit in rocking chairs as it made his back feel better.

John F. Kennedy was the fourth president to be assassinated in office as he died on November 22, 1963. Alan Shephard became the first American astronaut to make a space flight and John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth during his presidency. The first Barbie dolls were sold during Kennedy’s terms in office, skateboarding was the newest outdoor sport and the Twist was the most popular dance.








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