The day after Christmas is a day shared by two Presidents in death.
The 33rd President, Harry Truman, died on this day in 1972.
The 38th President, Gerald Ford. died on this day in 2006.
These two Presidents, the first a Democrat, the second a Republican, shared many common traits.
Both were from the Midwest–Truman from Missouri, and Ford from Hichigan.
Both faced challenging times and issues–Truman with the end of World War II; the Atomic Bomb issue; the Berlin Blockade and Airlift; the Korean War;-McCarthyism;–and Ford with the pardoning of Richard Nixon; the final end of the Vietnam War; the Mayaguez Affair with Cambodia; the two assassination attempts 17 days apart in September 1975; and the challenge of Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter in 1976.
Both faced public opinion polls that made their governing difficult, with Truman surprising everyone with his upset victory over Thomas E. Dewey in 1948; and Ford almost winning a full term in 1976, and only losing because of close vote returns in Ohio and Hawaii.
Both had no desire to be President, and had not sought it, with both succeeding to the Presidency when Franklin D. Roosevelt died in 1945, and Richard Nixon resigned in 1974.
Both died at advanced ages, with Truman seven and a half months past the age of 88; and Ford five and a half months past 93, and the longest lived President until George H. W. Bush passed his age on November 25, a month ago, and also to be surpassed by Jimmy Carter on March 16, 2018.
Both Presidents have gained in stature in death and in retrospect, although Truman is in the top ten Presidents of all time, usually around number five or six in most scholarly polls, while Ford is in the mid to high 20s as an average President.
But both came along, unexpectedly, and performed their responsibilities in an admirable way, and have gained respect that both might not have imagined in their lifetimes.