Born May 8: Harry S. Truman
By Michael Baadke
Harry S. Truman was born May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Mo. The family later moved to Independence, Mo., where Truman attended school.
He served in France during World War I as a captain of artillery, and later became a clothing store owner, a judge and a U.S. senator.
He married Bess Wallace in 1919, and they had one daughter, Mary Margaret, born in 1924.
As senator, Truman fought corruption in wartime spending, saving the country millions. When Franklin D. Roosevelt sought a fourth term as president, he picked Truman as his running mate.
Winning the election of 1944, Truman was vice president for just 82 days when Roosevelt died, and Truman became the nation's president in the midst of the Second World War.
Though the conflict in Europe was coming to an end, Japan refused to surrender, and Truman made the decision to drop atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japanese surrender soon followed.
During his first presidential term the United Nations was established, and the Berlin Airlift was instituted to circumvent the Berlin Blockade.
Truman was elected to a second term in 1948, and in 1950 he sent American troops into South Korea.
Though he was eligible, Truman decided against running for a third term, and retired to Independence. He died Dec. 26, 1972.
An 8¢ memorial stamp was issued on Truman's birthdate, May 8, 1973 (Scott 1499). The design by Bradbury Thompson is based on a photograph by Leo Stern.
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