After visiting the Eisenhower Museum and Library my spouse and I have become even more absorbed in the study of his life. We are currently reading several books about his life. I also have a personal interest because he died when I was stationed at Walter Reed and knew some of the details of his demise. I was even more personally acquainted with Mamie or at least her bowel. I did the barium studies on her GI tract. When I talked to her, she constantly referred to Ike as the General, not the President. I now have a better understanding of why she called him the General. A similar thing happened in my life, but a little different, and on a much smaller scale.
Eisenhower was most proud of his accomplishments as a General. It was a rank he worked hard to obtain and he has to be one of the greatest military leaders in the history of our country. The Presidency was handed to him and he really didn’t work for it. He didn’t care about either party. Truman told him that he would agree to be the Vice President if Ike would be President. Ike chose the Republican Party because Taft was a strong contender and would likely win the election. Ike didn’t want Taft to be elected because Taft was so opposed to NATO and this was something that Eisenhower felt very strongly about. Ike got the nomination over Taft and became a Republican President and is now ranked as one of the 10 best Presidents. He was basically apolitical.
Now, for my story, which is on a much smaller scale. When I was in the Army Medical Corps I became a Lieutenant Colonel. Doctors are promoted because of time as a physician plus some merit, but it was something I didn’t really have to work for. My spouse got our checks cashed at a local store. The checks had our name as Dr. Montgomery with the address printed at the top. The lady who cashed the checks ask why we didn’t use my rank before our name instead of doctor. My wife said that the doctor designation was something I had to work very hard to obtain and that the Lt. Colonel was something I was very proud of, but it was handed to me because I was a physician.
As I reflect on the porch about the moral to this story, we are most proud of what we have worked the hardest for. I have seen Thomas Jefferson’s gravestone several times and it list his proudest accomplishment, and the Presidency wasn’t one of them. I like Eisenhower and Jefferson a lot, those guys had class.