May Born Presidents

We heard that some of you enjoyed our take on the presidents born in April so we’ve decided to give our presidents a regular spot on our blog each month. While May didn’t produce as many presidents as April, Both Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy are more than fascinating enough to compensate.

Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman was born on May 8th 1884 in Lamar Missouri. He was married to Elizabeth (Bess) Wallace on June 29th 1919 and they had one daughter named Margaret. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States and he wasn’t elected into office as president but instead as vice president for Roosevelt. As you should know from your elementary school history class, Roosevelt passed away less than three months into his historical fourth term and Truman then succeeded to presidency. He was the only president who served after 1897 without a college degree.

Truman’s presidency was full of foreign affair events including the defeat of Nazi Germany and his decision to use nuclear weapons against Japan, the Cold War, the creation of NATO and the Korean War. When he left office in 1953, Truman was known as one of the most unpopular presidents in history. His approval rating was 22% in the Gallup Poll of February 1952 which was lower than that of Richard Nixon’s 24% in August of 1974! Ironically, as time passed, Truman fared well in polls ranking American presidents. He has never been listed lower than ninth and in 2009 was fifth! Truman has also since been honored on two postage stamps and, due to his involvement in the U.S. Government’s decision to recognize Israel, the Israeli village of Beit Harel was renamed to Kfar Truman. Today we fondly remember Harry as the president with a nickname big enough to match his tenacity in the face of many hardships. Do you know what his nickname is? If you do, visit our Facebook Page and let us know!

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy was born on May 29th 1917 in Brookline Massachusetts. He was the 35th President of the United States and was the first 20th Century born, the second youngest and the only President to have won a Pulitzer Prize. He was married to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on September 12th 1953 and had three children: Caroline, John and a son that died a few days after birth. Since Kennedy and his wife were younger than those that preceded them, their popularity paralleled in more ways to actors and pop singers inspiring fashion trends and spreads within popular magazines than traditional white house figures. After just three short and widely publicized years, JFK, as he is commonly referred to, was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963, at the age of 46, by Lee Harvey Oswald. He died younger than any United States President to date. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery (one of two Presidents in history) and it not only affected the lives of those in the United States but extended worldwide. It is estimated that 16 million people visited his grave from 1964-1966. Rather than end our profile on Kennedy with a sad note, we would prefer to tell you a fun story from his childhood…

In September of 1931 Kennedy was sent to The Choate School for his high school education. His brother, Joe Jr, was already attending and was a football star and leading student. He spent the first year in his brother’s shadow and made his mark by rebellious behavior which banded a group together. Their most notorious stunt was to explode a toilet seat with a powerful firecracker! Just goes to show that even the most interesting and inspiring of people can be as human as you and I.

Around here we tend to enjoy history but take particular pride in our Presidents. So much so that we have an entire museum dedicated to our Presidents and First Ladies. If you haven’t already, come meet us and learn more, and if you have, we would love to see you again!