34 years ago today, the second worst president in history announced his resignation in the wake of all three articles of impeachment passing in the House. At noon tomorrow, it will be the actual anniversary of the moment his resignation took effect.
I remember being a teenager, watching the proceedings on a little 13" black & white TV in my room. The weather outside wasn't perfect, but it was still summer and I knew that in a month I'd be back in high school. I hated the idea of wasting a day of my precious school break to watch TV. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to watch it, knowing even then it was a moment in history.
Back in those days, it seemed there were earth shaking events occurring with startling regularity every few months. My formative years were marked by the televised images of JFK's funeral, the daily nightmare of Vietnam, the devastating Apollo 1 fire (on my birthday!), Martin Luther King's and Bobby Kennedy's shocking murders, an astronaut taking that dramatic first step on the Moon, and the growing spectacle about something called the Watergate Scandal. My memories of these events are set in fuzzy black & white images.
There are arguably greater threats to our nation now than there were in the turbulent late 60's and early 70's. I don't know for sure, because it's hard to have a clear perspective when you're right in the middle of history-making events while they're happening. It might take another 20 or so years before we have an accurate frame of reference to compare this decade with the one above. But there's no doubt that we are in an historic time, and the course our nation chooses over the next several months will certainly have repercussions that will echo for decades.
For this reason it's good to study history, just to provide some insight as to what is happening today. I'm convinced that the crimes of the Bush administration are at the very least comparable to those of Nixon's (and certainly more far-reaching than the charges brought against Bill Clinton, even though he deserved to be impeached), and yet we'll probably not ever witness a photo taken that resembles the circumstances of the one at the top of this article.
But I can still dream, can't I?