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Don’t say it in polite company

To say “Herbert Hoover” out loud was not exactly swearing when I was growing up, but events of his presidency 1929-1933 scarred so many people that I learned early on not to mention his name at all unless I wanted to be deliberately provocative.

Release of the Hoover Presidential dollar on June 19 will likely cause others like me to reflect on Hoover’s chapter of American history.

As the old saying goes, time does heal all wounds and Hoover’s reputation has been reassessed and the generation that was scarred by the Great Depression have largely departed.

Hoover no longer is simply blamed for the greatest economic calamity the United States has ever experienced.

He was a man of great accomplishment as a mining engineer, the organizer of food relief to Europe after World War I when millions were going hungry and he was a very able secretary of Commerce during the Roaring Twenties when the business of America was business, as President Calvin Coolidge put it.

All of these aspects of Hoover are in the spotlight at his presidential library in West Branch, Iowa.

The library will be the site of the official Hoover Presidential dollar release ceremony at 11 a.m. on June 19.

Those who are able to attend will have the opportunity to learn about a man whose reputation was still very tangible when I was growing up. Cautionary tales of the Great Depression, bank failures and mass unemployment still informed daily life.

Frugality and not buying something without having the money to pay for it were two guide posts passed down to me by the Depression generation.

Though I did not know Hoover or live during his presidency, he very much affected my life. When I obtain his dollar coin, it will stand for far more in my mind than simply words from a history book.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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