Forty-four years ago, yesterday, 27 June 1974, the Watergate Hearings concluded upon the publishing of the committee’s final report.
I came home from second-grade one afternoon in May 1973, and a favorite television program was not being aired due to this very peculiar live-program. I did not comprehend and asked both my grandfather and next door neighbor, Dick Herndon. They each gave me an assessment of what was happening and the purpose of the hearings.
I would read Watergate Hearing reports in my hometown newspaper, The Elwood Call-Leader, as well as major newspapers at The Elwood Public Library where I would one day work all four years of high school. It was at the library where I first read accounts written by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, both reporters for The Washington Post. I also became acquainted with the name, Ben Bradlee, executive editor for The Washington Post.
One of the leading cast members I always loved watching during his testimony was President Nixon’s legal counselor, John Dean. Mr. Dean was articulate and possessed an interesting speaking voice that I still love listening to during current interviews on various interviews. Mr. Dean’s wife, Maureen, was always seated behind him, often in the camera’s view. Even Mother joined me during his testimony because she thought Maureen Dean stunningly beautiful.
It was a very lonely hobby; no one my age at school or in Little League Baseball was interested, and even most adults weren’t as interested as I hoped.
By the end of June 1974, events began rapidly unfolding:
- The Watergate Committee was dismantled 27 June
- The Supreme Court ordered Pres. Nixon to release the Smoking Gun Tape the end of July
- Nixon released the tape in early August
- August 9, Nixon resigned
Mid-July, I traveled to Washington, DC, with my grandparents, via way of Norfolk, Virginia, and got to meet our congressman, Elwood “Bud” Hillis and Vice-President Gerald Ford, who would take the presidential oath of office within three weeks. The air was heavy with suspense. We also got to see former Chief Justice Earl Warren lying in state at The Supreme Court Building.
I was in history-nerd heaven.
This afternoon, I’ve been half-listening to Senate hearings, often returned to my youth when the Watergate Hearings were sensational events on television.