The Nixon Years
Photograph by Fred Maroon
At left, President Nixon addressing members of the Cabinet and the White House staff during his farewell in the East Room of the White House on the morning of August 9, 1974.  Behind the President is his son-in-law, David Eisenhower. 

At right, Mrs. Nixon and daughter, Tricia Nixon Cox, during President Nixon's farewell, East Room of the White House. 

In the final hours of his presidency, President Nixon bade farewell to members of his staff, Cabinet and friends.  The band played "Hail to the Chief" for the last time to the 37th President of the United States. 

Photograph by Fred Maroon
In a twenty-minute epitaph the President had written himself, he poured out his heart, with emotional echoes of his "Checkers" speech twenty years earlier, memories of his mother, and a quotation from a man he greatly admired - Theodore Roosevelt.  Despite the somber occasion, Nixon attempted a determinedly upbeat delivery: 

"Greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes when you are really tested, and you take some knocks, some  disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain." 

As the President spoke, everyone in the East Room felt for his family, and particularly Mrs. Nixon.  I remembered her remark that the hardest time of her political life with her husband had been when he lost his first bid for the presidency in November 1960.  I could not help but feel that that day had now been eclipsed.  

Two hours later, at 11:35 am, when he was already en route  to California, his letter of resignation was delivered to the Secretary of State and Nixon's presidency came to an end. 

On a national level, this was constitutional democracy functioning as it should: the orderly, legal transference of power.  But on a human level, I am sure no one in the East Room on August 9, 1974, was immune from the intense poignancy of watching the President struggle through the emotional trauma of saying "au revoir."  Whether one loved or hated Richard Nixon, it was almost like a death in the family. 


Back Page
Index Page


This feature is sponsored by 
Place an order for The Nixon Years through the Abbeville Press website or call 1-800-ART-BOOK
PAGE 1 | 2 | 3| 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 9 | 10 
11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 
Contents Editorials The Platypus Links Copyright
Portfolios Camera Corner War Stories  Dirck's Gallery Comments
Issue Archives Columns Forums Mailing List E-mail The DJ
 This site is sponsored and powered by Hewlett Packard