Richard Nixon’s visit to the Lincoln Memorial


“In the early hours of May 9, 1970, President Richard Nixon made an unplanned visit to the Lincoln Memorial where he spoke with anti-war protestors and students for almost two hours. The protestors were conducting a vigil in protest of Nixon’s recent decision to expand the Vietnam War into Cambodia and the recent deaths of students in the Kent State shootings. Nixon had finished a press conference at 10 p.m. on May 8, in which he had been questioned about his decision to expand American operations in Cambodia as part of the Vietnam War. Nixon then made 20 telephone calls to various people including Billy Graham and Thomas E. Dewey and the NBC reporter Nancy Dickerson. He then slept from 2:15 a.m. until around 4 a.m. Nixon awoke after 4 a.m. and put on a recording of Eugene Ormandy conducting Rachmaninoff at a loud volume in the Lincoln Sitting Room. This awoke his valet Manolo Sanchez. Looking at the gathering of people on the National Mall, Nixon asked Sanchez if he had ever visited the memorial at night and then told him to get dressed after Sanchez answered in the negative. Nixon, Sanchez, the senior White House doctor Walter Robert Tkach and Secret Service agents then drove to the memorial in a presidential limousine, with Nixon later recalling that he had ‘never seen the Secret Service quite so petrified with apprehension’. Upon arrival Nixon and Sanchez walked up the steps to the statue of the seated Lincoln with Nixon pointing out the carved inscriptions of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address.[2] White House Deputy for Domestic Affairs Egil Krogh was also present. Some students had recognised Nixon by now and, although surprised by his advent, walked up to him and shook his hand. Nixon said that the students ‘were not unfriendly’ to him, but ‘seemed somewhat overawed’. On the Vietnam War, Nixon told the students: I hope that [your] hatred of the war, which I could well understand, would not turn into a bitter hatred of our whole system, our country and everything that it stood for. I said that I know probably most of you think I’m an SOB. But I want you to know that I understand just how you feel. …”
Wikipedia
The Atlantic: I Am Not a Kook: Richard Nixon’s Bizarre Visit to the Lincoln Memorial
The Year Nixon Fell Apart
Bill Moyers: O Little Town of Washington
YouTube: THE DAY THE ’60S DIED | Nixon Visits the Lincoln Memorial | PBS

U.S. Persident Richard Nixon poses in the White House after his announcement to the nation April 30, 1970 that American ground troops have attacked, at his order, a Communist complex in Cambodia. Nixon points to area of Vietnam and Cambodia in which the action is taking place.

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