More than 350 visitors gathered at the Nixon Library on Wednesday, January 9, to celebrate the 95th anniversary of his birth, beginning with a formal wreath laying ceremony at the President’s grave, just steps from the 37th President’s modest birthplace.
The ceremony was followed by presentation of the annual Nixon Legacy Lecture by retired Wyoming Senator Alan K. Simpson, a longtime and close friend of President and Mrs. Nixon.
The quiet and respectful crowd looked on as a U.S. Marine Honor Guard presented colors, and Navy Rear Admiral Raymond E. Berube spoke of Nixon’s World War II Navy service and Presidential achievements, and then placed a red, white and blue wreath from the White House next to the headstone, assisted by young recruits of the Sea Cadets.
Popular vocalist Robbie Britt sang, Navy Commander Sheri L. Snively, a distant Nixon relative, gave the invocation, and Navy bugler Ronald Wilson played Taps.
Nixon Foundation executive director John H. Taylor was master of ceremonies. Special guests included Edward Nixon, RN’s younger brother; Senator and Mrs. Simpson; Dr. Timothy Naftali, NARA library director; and commentator Bruce Herschensohn.
Later, Senator Simpson addressed a full house in the Library’s East Room, where he called RN one of his greatest friends and a man of passion, intellect and emotion. “Those who come to the Nixon Library will find the true soul of this extraordinary leader,” he said.