In February 1979, thousands of farmers from across the country — and their tractors — barreled into Washington to protest in favor of agriculture policy reform. They snarled traffic for several weeks, frustrating commuters. But public opinion began to shift when an unexpected blizzard buried the city under two feet of snow and the protesters took it upon themselves to plow city streets and ferry doctors and nurses to work.
In 1972 a local teen took the Olympics by storm. At just 15 years old, Melissa Belote won three gold medals and set three world records. But in her hometown of Springfield, VA, she was already a household name.
The first National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony took place in 1923. The ceremony was intended to foster a sense of national unity around the Holiday season, but 1973 was different. President Richard Nixon, embroiled in the Watergate scandal and dealing with an energy crisis, used the ceremony as a platform for political theater. As the President talked up his administration's achievements and legislative agenda for the coming year, an impromptu political rally in support of the President broke out.
Not only were the President's remarks different in nature, the tree was as well. As Americans across the country had to tighten their belts with regards to energy, the energy crisis prompted organizers to significantly reduce the number of lights upon the tree itself as well as begin a new tradition of using a living, rather than cut, National Christmas Tree.
Nixon, a career politician known for his rather stilted mannerisms and stoic demeanor, was seen as humorless and uncaring by the counterculture. As a result, he was the butt of many jokes. Some of the nation’s counterculture writers and artists mused what it would be like if Nixon ever took LSD. Jefferson Airplane's Grace Slick took it upon herself to find out when Nixon's daughter, Tricia, invited her to a tea party at the White House in 1970.
The year was 1976: America's bicentennial. To celebrate, President Ford invited Queen Elizabeth II to a state dinner at the White House. A certain local public television station took on the ambitious task of live broadcasting the event, but didn't expect production challenges of royal proportion.
The 1979 film “Being There,” directed by Hal Ashby from the acclaimed novel by Jerzy Kosinski, was a light-hearted comic observation of politics and celebrity in America. Set in and around Washington, D.C., this Oscar gem is a time capsule of some Capital locales that might not be readily recognizable 27 years after they were filmed.
The film version of the Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein book All the President’s Men had blockbuster written all over it when it was released on April 9, 1976. The book was already an international bestseller and had won its authors the Pulitzer Prize. And the filmmakers assembled to bring the book to the screen read like a who’s who of top Hollywood talent. Throughout the hubbub, editors at The Washington Post were in an awkward position.
It's hard to imagine now, but when the first Star Wars movie debuted in 1977, few in Hollywood expected director George Lucas' movie to do much business, let alone create pandemonium. The scene at Washington's Uptown Theater proved to be a bellwether of what was to come.
During the morning commute on Metro, trains are packed. A lot of riders are commuters coming in from Maryland or Northern Virginia. The Metro wasn’t the initial plan; back in the 1950s, the plan was to set up a freeway system to make it easier for people in the suburbs to access D.C. But due to the persistence of citizen groups, this was not to be.
Streets are being shut down... Huge crowds are expected to overwhelm the city's Metro system... There are security concerns... For longtime Washingtonians, the excitement over Pope Francis's inaugural visit is like turning back the clock.