Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States. If you know anything about him, you know that he was the first and only president to resign from office. His legacy has forever been scarred by the Watergate break-in and the subsequent cover up.
Most people (even Americans), however, don’t know much about the remarkable foreign policy breakthroughs that he accomplished during his time in office. This included ending the Vietnam War, opening relations with China (he was the first president to visit China), and negotiating the first nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union.
In 2009 my family visited Disneyland in Southern California. Afterwards we were traveling to Hemet, CA to visit friends. I love presidential history, so when I mapped it out and saw that we would go through Yorba Linda and be a couple of miles from Richard Nixon’s birthplace and Library I convinced my wife we had to stop.
It was great seeing all the memorabilia from his life and teaching my daughter, Lucy, about Nixon and other presidents. We got to go in Marine One, which is the helicopter he left the White House in on the day he resigned. But the thing that stood out most to me was his tombstone. Here is a picture:
“The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker”
The phrase on his tombstone is a line from his first inaugural address. Whether we think of Richard Nixon as a peacemaker or not, it is interesting to me that being a peacemaker must have been very significant for him since he had it placed on his tombstone. It is how he wanted to be remembered.
I’m not working in the arena of foreign affairs between governments, but it is how I hope I will be remembered.