The Philippine Republic and the USA share July Fourth as their Independence Day. On 4 July 1956, Vice President and Mrs. Nixon joined President Ramon Magsaysay and First Lady Luz Magsaysay in Manila to celebrate the Philippines’ 10th and America’s 180th birthdays. (Photo for LIFE magazine by John Dominis.)
July Fourth was always a meaningful day for RN throughout his presidency:
1969- RN spends the holiday weekend in Key Biscayne, Fla., where he attends a
parade and exchanges messages with anthropologist Thor Heyerdawl, who is on the boat “Expedition Ra” on his way across the Atlantic.
1970- RN is at the Western White House in San Clemente, California, meeting with Vietnam peace talks envoy David K.E. Bruce.
1971- The official Fourth celebration occurs on the 5th this year and RN witnesses the certification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution —which added eleven million new voters to the rolls by lowering the voting age to 18— in the East Room of the White House. RN’s extended remarks were particularly significant.
1972- RN gives a Fouth of July radio address from San Clemente, Calif., and reveals his plans for the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976.
1973- RN issues his Independence Day Statement from the Western White House in San Clemente: “Independence Day is a day to secure our moorings, to consider how far we have come as a nation, and to understand where we must yet go. It is a day of solemnity, for the birth of our nation was a momentous event for all mankind. But it is also a day of great joy as we celebrate the wondrous blessings of liberty and freedom.”
1974- President Nixon is at Key Biscayne, Florida after having returned from the Soviet Summit in Moscow on the previous evening. In his Independence Day Statement, he says: “The Fourth of July is a uniquely American holiday. But it is also a holiday that echoes the hopes and aspirations of people throughout the world. In each of my-trips abroad, I have seen tangible evidence of people’s basic belief in the value of the principles that underlie our Republic, and outpouring of affection and respect for the Nation that Abraham Lincoln called “the last, best hope of earth.”
On 4 July 1970, RN recorded a message to be played for the crowd on the Mall waiting for the Honor America Day ceremony followed by the annual fireworks at the Washington Monument:
WE AMERICANS are known throughout the world as a forward-looking people. The United States of America is in fact a symbol of progress, of hope, and of just and orderly growth.
Yet, on one day each year we turn and look back at our past. We look back today over almost 200 years to a group of men meeting in Philadelphia and we look back in pride and in wonder, for what they did on this day is the single greatest political achievement in the history of man.
And we are the beneficiaries of that achievement.
To those of you who have gathered on this day to honor America, I send my best wishes for an enjoyable, memorable Fourth of July celebration. I know that the sponsors of this event, from every walk of life and from both major parties, have done everything they can to make this day a very special one for all of you.
Yet, there is something remaining to be done in order to make Honor America Day the kind of special occasion we all want it to be. It is my hope that each of us will take away not only our proud memories of this day, but also the living spirit of the Fourth of July as well, a spirit that created a free and strong and prosperous nation.
That is the spirit that can truly honor America, not only today but always. Let us all look back today so that we will be reminded of what great sacrifices have been made to make this day possible, and then let us turn once more to the future, inspired by what this day means to us and to all those who love freedom throughout the world.
A tip o’the Liberty Cap to James Heintze.