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Bob Lind, Published November 11 2013

Neighbors: Poem about presidents updated through today

A Neighbors reader sent in a poem last summer that teachers once used to help their students learn the order in which United States presidents served.

But since it was written more than 100 years ago, the last president listed was William McKinley.

So Richard Roberts, West Fargo, the man who sent it in, challenged folks to complete the poem, listing all the presidents since McKinley.

Two people did just that. So today, Neighbors carries the first one, submitted by Larry Munson, New Rockford, N.D., and will run the second one later.

Here’s the original poem, listing Washington to McKinley:

George Washington, that hero grand, was president of our dear land

Eight troubled years. Then Adams (John) preceded Thomas Jefferson.

He was elected twice, you know, like Madison and James Monroe.

John Quincy Adams, wise and firm, was next; then Jackson’s double term.

Van Buren ruled when times were bad; the death of Harrison was sad; but Tyler came, his years to close, ere James K. Polk in turn arose.

Zach Taylor of the Texan war soon left his place to good Fillmore.

Pierce and Buchanan both held sway while slavery questions ruled the day.

That storm cloud burst while Lincoln steered the “Ship of State,” whose wreck he feared;

Scarcely had he brought it safe to port when crime his second term cut short.

Johnson was therefore forced, though loath, to take the presidential oath.

Grant of our nation twice was head, ere to the White House Hayes was led.

When Garfield’s pain was o’er, at last, his power to Chester Arthur passed.

Next Cleveland and Ben Harrison, whose place again firm Cleveland won.

McKinley now rules land and main and all the islands torn from Spain.

Now, Larry picks it up:

Then Teddy Roosevelt and his Square Deal served all who worked with a decent meal.

William Howard Taft had taxes on his mind, the sixteenth amendment he eagerly signed.

The League of Nations did arise and Woodrow Wilson earned the Nobel Peace Prize.

Warren Harding had a good heart, and favored fair treatment to all as a start.

The spirit and hope of the middle-class man, Calvin Coolidge had a small-government plan.

Herbert Hoover’s name on a dam, which gave people a job with Uncle Sam.

FDR had a New Deal, which provided for families a guaranteed meal.

“Dewey Defeats Truman” the headline read, but “Give ’em H… Harry” came out ahead.

Dwight D. Eisenhower known as “Ike” was behind the Interstates that we all like.

JFK on a sad November day, left us in shock in a horrible way.

“The Great Society” was Lyndon Johnson’s theme, but the Vietnam War ended that dream.

Richard Nixon ended the Vietnam War, but alas, Watergate showed him the door.

Gerald Ford served less than three years, coping with some of the nation’s worst fears.

The Iran hostage matter caused Jimmy Carter grief; he tried and tried but got no relief.

Ronald Reagan took a firm stand; on foreign affairs he made strong demands.

The first George Bush stood up for Kuwait, and Hussein in Iraq soon met his fate.

Economic expansion was Bill Clinton’s mark, but some scandalous antics caused people’s remarks.

The second George Bush led us through some sad hours, when terrorists attacked our beloved twin towers.

Barack Obama paved a new way, and meets all the challenges we have today.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com