I saw a piece on the news this morning about “this day in history”…
August 8, 1974 was the official day that President Richard Milhous Nixon submitted his resignation as the President of the United States, disgraced with impeachment litigation piling on. It took another President to stop the hemorrhaging.
In April of 1994, when he died, his body was toured until it landed at his Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California where he was buried. By this time, I had already enlisted to be a soldier in the Army and I was simply waiting to graduate highschool to leave. But I went to the casket viewing with a girlfriend. We stood for several hours in line waiting to get into the viewing rotunda. As we entered, it was on the stoke of the hour and they had started the “Changing of the Guard” represented by the four branches of the military. The moves were crisp, polished and mind blowing. To see such a dignified event, hearing the affectionate chitchat of people in line, feeling the solemnity of the occasion, the professionalism… it left a forever impression. I knew, two months from that day, I’d be starting my service and the patriotism that came from that moment was remarkable.
Regardless of your politics or historical perspectives, what happened in April 1994 was akin to what many of us who are incarcerated would hope for. A dignified moment of redemption. A celebration of a life, regardless of the mistakes made through selfish motivations when we made them. A life that became an inspiration and worthy. While in 1974 you’d be hard pressed to find anything redeeming about Richard Nixon, by the time of his death he was revered as a statesman for the extraordinary relationship he had with an emerging modern China, significant arms reduction in the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the withdrawal from Vietnam. He’s even credited as a champion for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, an important piece of modern society. You don’t have to focus on August 8, 1974. Trying to remember the life after, while giving credit its due, should be a fair value most people should hold. We all want our dignified moment…
by Rory Andes
We aren’t presidential, but we work towards redemption nonetheless…
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Rory Andes 367649
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272