Two years ago, on June 17, 2012 to be precise, I posted this small vignette about the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. Now today is the 40th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation. August 9, 1974 was a momentous day in my family’s history. We moved from Connecticut to Florida that day. I was all of seven years old and even though I did not understand the specifics I understood that major changes for my parents, brother, sister, and me were underway. It was probably for the best that I didn’t all that was happening; my parents marital troubles were the reason for the relocation and they divorced the following year. In my mind the Nixon resignation and the relocation are forever linked.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in. I have seen surprisingly little about this in the news. I suppose a reason is that it was never the break-in, but the cover-up, that was considered the big crime. It could be, too, that the Watergate scandal has reached that intermediary stage where it is no longer a current event and not quite yet history. Demographically, Washington has changed a great deal in the past several decades as well. Gentrification has brought many younger people–young twenty- and thirty-somethings–who are too busy building their careers to think about it. We know the least about the decade just before and the decade after we are born.
The area around the Watergate Building Complex is off the beaten path and visited by very few tourists taking in the sights. We ourselves go to DC fairly frequently and I must say we have never gone out of our way to see it. Cultural Tourism DC is planning to install signage in the neighborhood. I wonder if the 50th anniversary of this event will be a bigger deal. We’ll know just a short decade from now.
(image/Watergate Building Complex, Allen Lew)