Friday, December 18, 2009
Merry Christmas from Richard Nixon
On this day in 1972 President Nixon announced the Christmas bombing of North Vietnamese cities. Nixon appears 12 times in A Book of Ages. That's not counting the times he appears in other people's anecdotes. I'm thinking of Paul Newman discovering he was on the president's enemies list. Nixon spent Christmas 1972 in Florida with his old friend Bebe Rebozo. At the last moment he uninvited loyal acolyte Henry Kissinger who'd planned to join him. Who is invited to whose Christmas party has always been an interesting mark of favor and popularity. As we look back on Christmases past we remember each year by who we were with and how we celebrated, Christmases spent in a war zone far from home or in a balmy climate with friends or stuck in an airport somewhere. When he was 19 George Washington spent Christmas alone, aboard ship returning from Barbados. J. D. Salinger spent his 25th Christmas in deep snow in the Ardennes, fighting the Battle of the Bulge.