Tuesday, August 09, 2005


A couple of things have made me think of anniversaries today. For one thing, this is the anniversary of Nixon's resignation as President (more about that in a minute). But also, my childhood best friend, Rebecca, became a grandmother (for the first time) last week. So she and her husband, Bob, would have celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary a couple of days ago with their new little grandson, Ian. Bob sent me pictures -- Ian is a beautiful baby and the grandparents look so young! (Rebecca is the same age as me.) I remember the wedding well -- it was August in Knoxville, Tenn., and the morning was rainy and the afternoon was sultry. But it was beautiful wedding and a lot of fun. In fact, it was a great week because most of the wedding party came and spent the week before the wedding together.

The summer is usually a big time for wedding anniversaries and I've heard about several people celebrating milestone anniversaries recently. So congratulations to all of you who have made it 10 or 20 or 25 or 30 years or more. My husband (also named Bob) and I will celebrate 28 years in January, and my parents will mark 50 on Dec. 23 this year.

But here's the other thing I was thinking about today. I was going to be a senior in high school in the summer of 1974. As always, I went to church camp, and my week turned out to be the first week of August. The Watergate scandal had filled the news all year, but especially that summer. On the evening of Aug. 8, our camp manager said he was going to do something unprecedented at our camp -- bring a TV into chapel so we could watch history unfold. We watched Nixon announce that he would resign at noon the next day. We had a gathering later that evening in the dining hall and the manager talked about how different this was for our country -- how we would have a president who hadn't been elected to that office. (Gerald Ford) I think we watched the actual resignation the next day, too.

It was a strange time. I'm not sure how Watergate would have played out in a different era, but in the 1970s this is how it ended up. I'll admit that I tend to be suspicious of elected officials, and I expect Nixon had something to do with that. But I also came to appreciate how resilient our country is. In other parts of the world this sort of political upheaval is often accompanied by civil war, but here in the United States, the change occurred smoothly. As to whether or not we really learned anything from Watergate, I'll let you come to your own conclusion.

No comments: