Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Pat Nixon!

Mar. 16, 2011
Dear Pat Nixon,
Having grown up in Yorba Linda, CA, I would always say, “I’m from Yorba Linda, birthplace of Nixon.” I have always admired you and your husband, President Richard Nixon. My admiration for you grew even more during the 7 ½ years I volunteered at the Nixon Presidential Library. 

I learned that you were a woman of great integrity, character and honor. You worked hard your whole life to rise from very humble beginnings to the height of fame, although you never seemed to seek it. I admired you greatly for your quiet strength and sense of duty to your country and family. I think we can all learn many ways from your example.

You were always supportive of your husband, even during the most troubled times. I know you pleaded with him not to resign and even during the difficult days of Watergate, you said: "I love my husband," she said. "I believe in him, and I am proud of his accomplishments."

Yes, there were many accomplishments during your husband’s presidency: He ended a war he didn’t start, he ended the draft, he opened relations with China and Russia, formed the EPA, DEA, and cancer research…of which my own sister benefited from at the National Cancer Institute! But what do people remember most? Watergate. To be the first lady during those years took a great deal of fortitude.

Fourteen times you were chosen by the Gallup Organization as one of the ten most admired women in the world. White House correspondent Helen Thomas said of you: “she was the warmest First Lady I covered and the one who loved people the most.”

On the epitaph I would pass by every day I was at the Nixon Library, where you’re buried, it reads: "Even when people can't speak your language, they can tell if you have love in your heart."

I love what your husband said of you at your funeral in 1993: “She was beautiful and intelligent and wise. She loved her family. She loved people. Not just the American people, but the thousands of people she met in our travels to Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe over the past forty years. She loved a good time. She knew how to make us laugh. She always brought sunshine into a room…Had it not been for Pat, I would not have made it politically or physically…When you think of Pat, I hope you will always remember the sunshine of her smile. She would like that.”

Thank you Mrs. Nixon for the legacy you left behind. I am glad I gave of my time to the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and gained from all that I learned there. I know I am a better person, having learned about you and your example.
Happy Birthday on what would have been your 99th!
Regards, Mrs Love

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