Truman Announces the Surrender of Japan
Today in history, August 14, 1945, President Truman announced the surrender of Japan, ending World War II.
The photos here show reporters running through the White House after hearing the President’s announcement.
Reporters running through the White House upon hearing the news; Reporters grabbing White House press releases about the surrender. 8/14/45.
-from the Truman Library
If you’re a southpaw, you’re in good Presidential company. Many of our U.S. Presidents have been left-handed, including Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.
Both Presidents Truman and Reagan were switched to writing with their right hands as young school children, but photos show them favoring the left in other activities. It’s widely believed that Herbert Hoover was also left-handed, but archivists at the Hoover Library tell us that they’ve found no documentation - it’s just left hander’s lore.
Happy International Left Handers Day!
September 16, 1924 - August 12, 2014
Today, we honor the singular Lauren Bacall, who died yesterday at the age of 89. She was involved in one of the most infamous incidents of Harry S. Truman’s Vice-Presidency.
On February 10, 1945, Mr. Truman attended a stage show for servicemen at the Washington Press Club canteen, and sat down to play the piano. During his performance, someone boosted Ms. Bacall onto the top of the piano, and she sat there seductively while Mr. Truman played and photographers snapped away. Mrs. Truman was not amused.
A Good Marriage, Not a Honeymoon
President Ford returned to the House Chamber where he had served as a Representative of Michigan for 25 years on August 12, 1974, to make his first address to a Joint Session of Congress.
In this speech he set out his vision for Executive-Congressional relations. He expected that Congress would be a working partner and constructive critic so together they could find solutions to the difficult issues the nation faced. “I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage,” he said.
Although President Ford felt the State of the Union was excellent he knew the state of the economy was not. Declaring inflation “domestic enemy number one,” he called for Congress to reactive the Cost of Living Council and announced plans for a domestic summit meeting on the economy. He also appealed to voters in the upcoming November election to support those candidates ”who consistently vote for tough decisions to cut the cost of Government, restrain Federal spending and bring inflation under control.”
Shifting his focus to international affairs, President Ford stated his intention to continue the foreign policy developed during the Nixon administration. “There will be no change of course, no relaxation of vigilance, no abandonment of the helm of our Ship of State as the watch changes,” he affirmed. “We stand by our commitments and we will live up to our responsibilities, in our formal alliances, in our friendships, and in our improving relations with potential adversaries.”
Read the full text of President Ford’s remarks.
Canceled Check for President Abraham Lincoln’s Salary, 04/05/1865.
Item From: Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury. (07/31/1894-07/01/1921).
The Treasury signs away $1981.67 of the president’s $25, 000 salary that he received while in office. Today President Obama makes roughly $400,000.
Robin Williams (1951-2014)
Actor, Comedian, Friend to the USO and the troops
Comedian and actor Robin Williams shakes hands with US Army (USA) CHIEF Warrant Office Two (WO2) Davis, 4th Infantry Division (ID) at Kirkuk Air Base (AB), Iraq (IRQ). Mr. Williams is in Kirkuk as part of the USO (United Service Organization) tour traveling through Southwest Asia with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of STAFF (JCS) during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, 12/17/2003
Robin Williams, a comedian and an actor, performs for troops during a United Services Organization (USO) visit at the Base Exchange at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq, on Dec. 14, 2004. (USAF PHOTO by SENIOR AIRMAN Christopher A. Marasky) (Released), 12/14/2004
Actor/Comedian Robin Williams entertains the crew of US Navy (USN) ENTERPRISE CLASS: Aircraft Carrier, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), during a holiday special hosted by the United Service Organization (USO), during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, 12/19/2003
Actor/Comedian Robin Williams (center) visits with Ohio (OH), Air National Guard (ANG) Technical Sergeant (TSGT), Chuck Juhasz, during his visit to the 39th Medical Group (MG), Hospital at Incirlik Air Base (AB), Turkey, during Operation NORTHERN WATCH. USAF Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Jerome Limoge, Surgeon, 39th Medical Group looks on, 10/14/2002
Life after the White House
Upon returning to private life President Ford and Betty split their time between Rancho Mirage, California, and Beaver Creek, Colorado.
President Ford reflected on his public service in his memoir “A Time to Heal,” published in 1979. Although he was considered as a potential Vice Presidential nominee for Ronald Reagan during the 1980 election and even thought about another bid for the Presidency that year he declined to run for either position. Ford continued to actively participate in the political process and to speak out on important political issues.
In 1981, the Gerald R. Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, were dedicated. President Ford participated in conferences at either site dealing with such subjects as the Congress, the presidency and foreign policy; Soviet-American relations; and humor and the presidency.
Over the years Ford lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities on topics including Congressional-White House relations, federal budget policies, and domestic and foreign policy issues. He attended the annual Public Policy Week Conferences of the American Enterprise Institute, and in 1982 established the AEI World Forum. He hosted this international gathering of former and current world leaders and business executives to discuss political and business policies impacting current issues for many years in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado.
The former President received numerous awards and honors as well as many honorary Doctor of Law degrees. Two are of particular note. In 1999 President Clinton presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, and observed that “President Ford represents what is best in public service and what is best about America.” The following year the John F. Kennedy Foundation presented him with the Profiles in Courage Award for putting the nation’s interest above his own political future with the pardon of Richard Nixon.
Pictured: President Clinton awards former President Ford the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony on August 11, 1999.
-from the Ford Library
Day 77 - FDR visits the Panama Canal
Throughout his travels FDR made many trips through the Panama Canal, including a visit to the nearly completed Canal in 1912. The work on the Canal started under President Theodore Roosevelt and was finished in 1914. FDR traveled to Panama with his brother-in-law Hall Roosevelt and his friend and Republican Senate colleague J. Mayhew Wainright. The trio was given their own personal observation car to use through the nine-mile Culebra Cut. FDR wrote home to his mother Sara saying:
I can’t begin to describe it and have become so enthusiastic that if I didn’t stop I would write all night. The two things that impress me most are the Culebra Cut, because of the colossal hole made in the ground, and the locks because of the engineering problems and size. Imagine an intricate concrete structure nearly a mile long and three or four hundred feet wide, with double gates of steel weighing 700 tons apiece!
Our museum collection includes this watercolor painting of the U.S.S. Houston at the Panama Canal by Ian Marshall. This painting depicts the scene of the Houston passing through the Panama Canal on July 11, 1934 with President Roosevelt on board. This was the first passage through the completed Canal by a U.S. President while in office.
August 10: First Cabinet Meeting of the Ford Administration
President Ford held the first Cabinet meeting of his administration on August 10, 1974, the day after his swearing in. His staff prepared a memo outlining the main points for him to cover with a focus on continuing an orderly transition. “Continuity and stability – that is what the people want and the country needs,” President Ford stated in his opening comments at the meeting.
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger gave a pledge of support on behalf of himself and his fellow Cabinet members:
Mr. President, for all of my colleagues, I want to say that we think you performed a great national service. For the previous administration, we are proud of what we did. You can count on our total loyalty and full support. Anything the Cabinet can do will be done with our full capability and in your spirit as you outlined in your very moving speech.