This morning, we drove to Yorba Linda to visit the Richard Nixon Presidential Museum (our 12th of the 13 official presidential libraries and museums … spanning the administrations from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush … operated by the National Park Service
Entering the lobby, you are greeted by an enormous presidential seal
After passing portraits of the 37th president and his family
Richard Nixon was a very complicated man who became president during a period of perhaps the greatest social turmoil the country faced since the Civil War.
Next was his Oval Office.
President Nixon and his successor President Ford used the Wilson Desk in the Oval office
The Hoover Desk was used by Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The Resolute Desk was used by Jack Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barak Obama and Donald Trump
The C&O Desk was used by George H.W. Bush
It sure would be nice if today's Washington bureaucrats would take Nixon's words to heart!
Oh, yes …
There was information on the moon landing, including the opportunity to listen to a recorded conversation between the president and Neal Armstrong at Tranquility Base on the moon
Moon rock from Apollo 15
A great deal of time was spent on the War in Vietnam, anti-war movement and Administration’s efforts to extricate American from the war while ensuring that American POWs were brought home.
On October 15, 1969, the largest anti-war demonstrations to date took place across the country in cities and college campuses. In response, on November 3rd, to the upsurge of vocal opposition, President spoke to the nation on a televised address from the Oval Office
His office was immediately flooded with thousands of letters, mostly in opposition to the war, many available to read.
However, it took more than three years for an agreement to be reached.
Note the price of the New York Times in 1973
Much attention was provided to our returning POWs
Possessions of former POWs
An American flag made out of fabric remnants by Col. John A. Dramesi and other captive POWs during his six years as a POW in Hanoi. It was presented to the President by Dramest and displayed at the White House Prisoner of War dinner on May 24, 1973
As with all of the presidential museums, space was dedicted to the First Lady and her impact on the White House .. and her wardrobe.
Much attention was focused on Nixon's Foreign Policy philosophy
- In 1972, President Nixon participated in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) with Soviet Secretary General Brezhnev as part of an effort to temper the Cold War through diplomatic dètente.
- Nixon signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, helping to calm U.S.-Soviet tensions by curtailing the threat of nuclear weapons between the world’s two superpowers.
- President Nixon was the first President to visit the People’s Republic of China, where he issued the Shanghai Communiquè, announcing a desire for open, normalized relations. The diplomatic tour de force brought more than a billion people out of isolation.
- Nixon signed the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, ending U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
- In 1969, Nixon announced a groundbreaking foreign policy doctrine that called for the United States to act within its national interest and keep all existing treaty commitments with its allies.
- Nixon established a new relationship with the Middle East, eliminating Soviet dominance in the region.
- In honor of the POWs returning home from Vietnam, Nixon hosted the largest reception in White House history.
- In reaction to the oil embargo of 1973, Nixon initiated Project Independence, which set a timetable to end reliance on foreign oil by 1980.
- In 1970, President Nixon avoided a second Cuban Missile Crisis involving the Soviet submarine base by adhering to his policy of hard-headed dètente, an active rather than passive form of diplomacy.
- During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Nixon supported Israel with massive aid, which Prime Minister Golda Meir later said saved her country.
President Nixon was no less aggressive and successful on the Domestic Front, with programs which benefited vast previously under-served segments of American society.
- Created the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Signed the Clean Air Act of 1970
- Launched the $100 million “War on Cancer”.
- Signed Title IX, opening the doors for female athletes by ending gender-based discrimination in all federally funded education programs.
- Achieved the peaceful desegregation of schools in the deep south.
- Required equal opportunity hiring on federally supported job sites.
- Signed the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18.
- Ended the military draft.
- Established the all-volunteer armed forces.
- Triple the hiring of women in the Executive Branch.
- Provided pension security for private sector employees with ERISA (Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974).
- Reversed decades of federal American Indian policy by supporting self-determination and advocating the return of tribal rights and lands to tribes.
- Sent the first presidential energy policy to Congress.
- Produced about one million units of Section 8 housing to assist low-income households.
- Expanded federal funding for traditional black colleges.
- Created the office of Minority Business Enterprise (now the MBDA – Minority Business Development Agency) to promote growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses.
- Expanded federal funding for the arts and humanities.
- Created the legacy of parks program, which converted more than 80,000 acres of government property to recreational use in 642 new parks.
Then, the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew amid scandals whcih occurred while he ws Governor of Maryland began to cast a shadow on the White House, although at this time not tainting Nixon directly.
Unfortunately, RIchard Nixon's presidential reputation is inevitably linked … at least by contemporary history …tohis pro-active role in the cover-up of the Watergate break-in scandal. Interestingly, the largest room in the museum focuses on this period of his presidency.
Tape recorder from the Oval Office
Location of listening devices in the Cabinet Room
However, Richard Nixon was not the first president to record conversatons with others.
In retrospect, some good did ultimately result from the Wattergate debacle.
Moving toward the end of the msueum tour information on Nixon's youth … normally one of the first exhibits … is presented.
Nixon's first job as an attorney after graduating from Duke Law School
World War II Service
1960 First Televised Presidential Debates with Senator Jack Kennedy
The End of Richard Nixon's Presidency
Our first Rose Bowl appearance
Retirement Office in California
During his post-presidency, RIchard Nixon was sought out by his successors for his advice.
Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994, less than one year after his beloived wife, Pat passed away.
Eulogizing Richard Nixon were former Sentaro Robert Dole:
I believe that the second half of the Twentieth Century will be known as the “Age of Nixon”.
and former President Bill C;inton:
May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.
We next walked around the grounds
Refelcting Pool and Gardens
Nixon's Boyhood Home … where he was born
Tonight we stayed at the Westin LAX so we'd be close to the airport for our flight to Hawaii tomorrow. I glanced out the window around 10:00 PM … look at the traffic!