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Archive for Friday, May 9, 2003

C-SPAN founder receives Truman award

May 9, 2003

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— C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb recalls that his father, as a young man, didn't like President Truman and never voted for him.

But, Lamb said, his father's attitude changed as he grew older, and he grew to like Truman more and more.

"He liked the fact that he was decisive, he liked the fact that he said what was on his mind, and he liked the fact that this man turned out to be an honest politician," said Lamb, who was honored Thursday as the 2003 recipient of the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award.

The award is presented by the Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation, formed to honor people in public life who have improved the community and the country through citizenship, patriotism, self-reliance and service.

As the Truman Award winner, Lamb delivered brief remarks about Truman on the 119th anniversary of the 33rd president's birth.

Lamb spoke in a banquet room at what was formerly the Muehlebach Hotel, where Truman frequently ate lunch during and after his presidency and where he learned of his stunning upset of Thomas Dewey in the 1948 election.

Lamb said 165 former members of Congress now work as lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

"What we've lost is the ability to go into politics and go home," Lamb said. "Harry Truman came home, and he came home and stayed home for 20 years."

Previous recipients of the award include former Senator and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (2001), Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (2000), historian and Truman biographer David McCullough (1993), scientist Jonas Salk (1983), former President Gerald Ford (1977), and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren (1973).

Truman returned to Independence after leaving office and lived there until his death in 1972.

Lamb noted that he had spoken with several international students who attended the luncheon and was told that what they like most about America is its openness.

"Openness. That's what Harry S. Truman was all about," Lamb said.

Lamb helped found C-SPAN -- the Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network -- and has been its chief executive officer since 1979. The network serves more than 86 million households.

C-SPAN was founded to provide full coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives. C-SPAN2 was added in 1986 to cover the U.S. Senate, and C-SPAN3 now serves digital cable systems.

The foundation also presented its Silver Veteran's Medal to former Capt. Bonnie Blycker, an Army nurse during World War II. The medal was first awarded in 1973 to pay tribute to the duty performed by Vietnam veterans.

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