Today marks 100 years since the thirty-seventh President of the United States was born in a house his father built in Yorba Linda, California.
Here is the acceptance speech Richard Nixon delivered as the Republican nominee in 1968 – still considered one of the most impressive addresses in American politics in our time. But its strength as a speech is that it goes beyond the political and brings out the personal side of RN, especially in the concluding section when he speaks of himself as a boy listening to the distant rumble of trains and the whistle of locomotives.
In the speech, the President-to-be outlined what he wanted to see in America – that it be an ambassador of peace in the world, and that it be an example to the rest of the nations of the globe in the way it treated its citizens.
In foreign-policy initiatives such as the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China and detente with the Soviet Union, President Nixon furthered the first of these ambitions. In domestic programs such as the foundation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the “War On Cancer” initiatives, and many others, he and those who worked in his Administration made giant strides in furthering the second ambition.
And the story of how these things came to be starts with a young lad in a quiet house, late in the evening, hearing the trains go by in the distance, thinking about the world.
Happy Birthday, President Nixon.