Nation Needs A Panda Moment

From mass shootings to debates about mask mandates there has been little to truly smile about in the headlines. But then I read something that did that very thing for me. The smile simply needs to be shared.

President Richard Nixon will always be remembered for the opening to China, an enormous international relations success that truly changed the world. One of the offshoots of that policy move was when First Lady Pat Nixon made what she surely thought was a light-hearted conversation.

She was sitting beside Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai at a banquet in Beijing. As dinner began, she noticed at her place a small tin of Chinese cigarettes bearing the logo of two giant pandas.

“Aren’t they cute?” she said as she picked up the tin. “I love them.”

Zhou replied: “I’ll give you some.”

“Cigarettes?” she asked.

“No,” Zhou said. “Pandas.”

Thus began, on Feb. 21, 1972, what would become the 50-year love affair between Washington and the giant panda.

Giant pandas Mei Xiang, left and her cub Xiao Qi Ji eat a fruitsicle cake in celebration of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The “cake” was made from frozen fruit juice, sweet potatoes, carrots and sugar cane and it lasted about 15 minutes once giant panda mama Mei Xiang and her cub Xiao Qi Ji got hold of it.

The National Zoo’s most famous tenants had an enthusiastic breakfast Saturday in front of adoring crowds as the zoo celebrated 50 years of its iconic panda exchange agreement with the Chinese government.

Xiao Qi Ji’s father Tian Tian largely sat out the morning festivities, munching bamboo in a neighboring enclosure with the sounds of his chomping clearly audible during a statement by Chinese ambassador Qin Gang. The ambassador praised the bears as “a symbol of the friendship” between the nations.

Pandas are almost entirely solitary by nature, and in the wild Tian Tian would probably never even meet his child. He received a similar cake for lunch.

With the absolutely dreadful news coming from Ukraine due to Russian aggression and savagery there must be moments of uplift and tranquility. The amazing and beautiful panda bears have supplied not only diplomatic purposes but also smiles at the times we need them most.

Like now.

And so it goes.

Tricia Nixon Cox And Edward Cox Celebrate Golden Wedding Anniversary at the Nixon Library

On Saturday, June 12, 2021, Patricia Nixon Cox and Edward Cox celebrated their Golden Anniversary at a Rose Garden Party at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library honoring frontline workers and first responders.

The Coxes —joined by their son, Christopher— met nearly 300 well-wishers from nearly 50 essential industries and charitable organizations and greeted the guests of honor near the gazebo under which they were married in the White House Rose Garden.

Enjoy International Museum Day! Virtually, The Safe Way

Today we celebrate International Museum Day by stepping inside the Nixon Library with a video that takes visitors on a rollercoaster ride through 20th century American and world history.  This is truly well done.

Since 1990, annual garden tours have been a much a loved feature of the Nixon Library. Take a virtual garden tour, guided by President and Mrs. Nixon’s granddaughter Jennie Eisenhower.

Recall Those Old-Fashioned Christmas Trees?

How times have changed! Remember when Christmas trees came in unusual natural shapes?

Future First Lady (then wife of VP Dick Nixon, aka ‘Second Lady,’) Pat Nixon trimming the family tree with daughters Tricia and Julie in 1954.  I so love this photo!

Donald Trump Using Richard Nixon Playbook

One would think that the speechwriters for Mrs. Trump would have looked at one of the few speeches made by Pat Nixon since the rest of the campaign is so closely mimicking her husband, Richard Nixon.

A must read from the New York Times.

In an evening of severe speeches evoking the tone and themes of Nixon’s successful 1968 campaign, Mr. Trump’s allies and aides proudly portrayed him as the heir to the disgraced former president’s law-and-order message, his mastery of political self-reinvention and his rebukes of overreaching liberal government.

It was a remarkable embrace — open and unhesitating — of Nixon’s polarizing campaign tactics, and of his overt appeals to Americans frightened by a chaotic stew of war, mass protests and racial unrest.

And it demonstrated that, wisely or mistakenly, Mr. Trump sees the path to victory this fall as the exploitation of the country’s anxieties about race, its fears of terrorism and its mood of disaffection, especially among white, working-class Americans.

Pat Nixon Special On C-SPAN 3 (Tonight And This Weekend)

Hillary Clinton Not In War Zone, But Pat Nixon Was

The idea that Hillary Clinton was ever in a war zone with bullets flying and immediate safety concerns on a high alert has been proved to be only fanciful attempts by the Clinton campaign to win the Democratic nomination.  And her assertion that she was the first wife of a president to be in a war zone since Eleanor Roosevelt is absolutely untrue.

Pat Nixon flew to Vietnam during the war in July 1969 and the scene can be viewed by the words and picture of that trip.

“We flew more than 1,500 feet above the ground in case of enemy fire,” Boyer says, “with fighter jets above and scores of helos flying under and around us for maximum protection. We even put down bullet proof mats on the helo floor.

“The Secret Service was against the trip,” Boyer says, “because the entire country was a war zone.”

In addition there is a passage in a biography of Pat Nixon by Julie Nixon Eisenhower that gives a description that makes Hillary Clinton’s trip seem like one to Disneyland.

Precautions for Mrs. Nixon’s security made her contacts with the Vietnamese during the one-day visit very difficult. At the Thuduc orphanage, where 774 children were housed, the hordes of Secret Service agents, reporters, military guards, and the din of the army helicopters whirring overhead all but drowned out any words spoken inside the buildings constructed years before by the French. As Mother emerged from the hospital, she saw fighter jets above the thick shield of circling helicopters. Their shrill whine added to the overpowering noise.

       Soon she was in an open-door military helicopter flying 18 miles north of Saigon to visit the 24th Evacuation Hospital at Long Binh. Occasionally she caught glimpses of scattered U.S. troops on the ground below. The agents who traveled with her were armed with machine guns and bandoliers loaded with cartridges slung across their shoulders. In the news dispatches filed from Saigon on July 30, one correspondent wrote:

       “Mrs. Richard Nixon risked her safety and possibly her good relations with some diplomats, brass and bureaucrats in Vietnam today. In trips to an orphanage, to a GI field hospital, and her exchanges with high-ranking officials, she made it clear she had little time for high-level formalities and wanted to see more of the men who were hurt and the children who had suffered….At the hospital, officials tried to tell her all about what they do. She brushed them aside. ‘I don’t really want to learn about the hospital. I came to see the boys,’ Mrs. Nixon said.”

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