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Without Thought of Reward

January 4, 2017

His mother had attended college where she studied art and music.  When he was five, she taught him to read.  Although he later considered himself to have been a sissy during his childhood, he served as an officer during wartime.  During one battle, when some of the men lost their nerve, he rallied them back into position.  He served honorably during the war, but he received no medals.  The year he left the presidency one of his Secretaries of State won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Another would eventually win the Pulitzer Prize.  For him there were no such prizes.

He wore tailor-made suits.  He attended symphony concerts and brought the score with him to follow along.  Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Strauss were among his favorite composers.  He appreciated the paintings of Holbein, Rubens, and da Vinci.  He read Latin for pleasure.  He was also well-read in history and the Bible.

He regularly prayed the following prayer: “Oh Almighty and Everlasting God, Creator of Heaven, Earth and the Universe – Help me to be, to think, to act what is right, because it is right; make me truthful, honest and honorable in all things, make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me.  Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving and patient with my fellowmen – help me to understand their motives and their shortcomings – even as Thou understandest mine.”

Humble, honorable, appreciating the finer things in life, and sensitive to the needs of others: that’s just how Harry Truman was.

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