Sunday, February 21, 2010

Record Breaking Day

The President's Day event at the Richard Nixon Library broke all sorts of records. It was great!

Attendance was 5,068 folks, who spent $7,127.97 in the Museum Shop and ate and drank $1,118.65 worth in the Museum Cafe.

C-span 3 will begin airing it on, Sunday, February 21, 2010, several times. We had a problem finding C-span 3 on DirecTV or our cable company. If you are having the same experience, you can "google" and look for 3 in the cable lineup. They call the programming on that channel, AH, for American History. It came across just great. Fun to see so many old pals in the audience, and I am especially proud of the panelists. Dwight Chapin, Steve Bull, Larry Higby, Ron Walker and Dave Parker via film were outstanding. What a great accomplishment to get all the "Haldeman as Chief of Staff" expertise on the record for people to study and decide for themselves how they view the Nixon administration.

We celebrated after the panel, with a special gathering in our Yorba Linda rented house. Readers of this blog know that we refer to it as "camping" because of the limited furnishings and lack of the creature comforts we take for granted in our other homes. As much as we complain about the cold and cavernous "Coyote Base," it is the perfect place to hold a seated dinner party for 56 people. Think about it, that's a huge truck load of chairs, tables and eating utensils.

The Anaheim White House restaurant loves it too. They don't often get to cater in a place where they can transform empty rooms into works of art. Flowers, flags, candles, gleaming crystal and china brought elegance to life. Amine, Geronimo, and all the other hard working staff are wonderful to work with. The fact that there were three blazing gas fireplaces, including one in an enclosed courtyard for alfresco dining under the stars added to the ambiance of a wonderful evening where old Nixon era staff and pals could gather and reminisce. It was also a remarkable opportunity for some of the Nixon Foundation's young staff to spend time with many of the people who "lived it". Those who were there that evening tell us that it was an invaluable time to listen, learn and appreciate what those days were really like. That is something they say has been missing from the day to day operations at the Library. Ron and I are so grateful that these exchanges are happening at last. Yes, they could and should have been done years ago and perhaps we will never fully understand why they weren't.

During the panel, Dwight Chapin joked about Haldeman's use of the TL2 symbol (Too little, too late.) but in this case, it's BLTN (Better Late Than Never!) We couldn't be doing what we are doing now, five or ten years from now. We are losing valuable insight way too often now: Bill Safire and Al Haig are perfect examples.

It felt good to feel good about old times. But as Dwight Chapin and the panelist pointed out, they represented many. That was very much on their minds as they put the panel together and selected photos and memos. You know if you are one of those, "many." Thank you, also, for all you did and continue to do. Please know you were missed.

News flash: The reclusive Dick Howard showed up, unannounced, to watch the panel. Ron spotted him and blew his cover and I made him sit with Lisa and Marja, but he wouldn't stay for the dinner. Too bad, because many of us miss spending time with him. He was a valuable member of the Nixon team and his involvement now would lend a great deal of insight. Which reminds me, it is not too late for others to get involved. Other panels to put on the historic record include, the Environment, the trip to China, National Security, Nominating Conventions, Presidential Advancing, Speech writing, and so much more. What was your area of expertise? What other panel topics would you suggest?

A personal note, a prerogative of having your own blog: Why in the world do we need to be able to take loaded guns into NATIONAL PARKS? I don't get it, so perhaps I must be missing a Charleton Heston moment . . . . or something? Hunting is not allowed in any of our National Parks, so the point would be? Ron joined eight other former National Park Directors in opposing loaded guns in our parks. Obviously, their letter was ignored.

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