"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

President Nixon At The Century Plaza Hotel

President Nixon At The Century Plaza Hotel

Thirty-six years ago on September 27, 1972, I had the chance to see in-person a president of the United States.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon was campaigning for re-election. I was a campaign volunteer in the Nixon campaign at our local Hawthorne, California headquarters. In September 1972, it was announced that the President and Mrs. Nixon will be attending a campaign dinner in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel on September 27th. The notice came from the main California campaign office and it was that the Young Voters for the President (YVP) organization needed some young voters to greet the Nixons upon their arrival at the Century Plaza. Transportation was provided (bus).

It is not too often that one gets the chance to see a president in person, so I signed up to go. I was at the ripe old age of 18 at the time and was attending El Camino College.

On the day of the visit, September 27, we were bused to the Century Plaza's parking lot and were herded into roped-off areas. President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon (Pat) would be helicoptered to the parking lot and then would get into the presidential Lincoln limousine. They would be driven along the crowd of YVPers and shaking hands.

I remember that it was a warm September day and clear out. There was excitement in the crowd when Marine One was seen in the sky on its approach. I remember I was a few feet from the front of the crowd. I didn't get to shake the president's hand as he was driven by, but it was fun to be there and, also, we got a free meal that evening at the Century Plaza courtesy of the Committee To Re-Elect The President!

The photos below were taken from a photo negative contact sheet provided by the National Archives. These are made available to the public for purchase. I made screen captures of two that I'm in. I added arrows to point to where I am at.

Click on photo to view larger.

UPDATE: After posting this, I found that a developer is planning to demolish the Century Plaza and replace it with two 600 foot towers. The Los Angeles Conservancy is trying to stop the wrecking ball with help from actress Diane Keaton. For the story on this, go here.

UPDATE:  The presidential limousine Nixon used at the Century Plaza was the JFK death car, Secret Service Code designation SS 100 X.  The limousine was rebuilt, repainted, armored and modified with a permanent top after President Kennedy's assassination in 1963.  For more, go here.


Anonymous said...

Hi - Thanks so much for mentioning our efforts to save the Century Plaza Hotel! If you have any photos you can share with us to use in our advocacy efforts, please let us know - email info@laconservancy.org. Thanks so much!

Cindy Olnick
Director of Communications
Los Angeles Conservancy

ArmandV said...

These are basically what I have, but feel free to copy them off the blog.

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