World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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An Elevator Ride Into History

3/8/74

With Nixon still president for two and one half more hours following his farewell remarks in the East Room, Amb. Quinn describes how he returned to his office. There, he learns there will not be enough room for NSC staff to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Vice President Ford scheduled for noon in the East Room. However, NSC staff members are invited to gather on West Executive Avenue to applaud the Vice President and Mrs. Ford as they walk from the Old EOB into the West Wing of the White House in route to the swearing-in ceremony. Amb. Quinn and his colleague get on the elevator on the third floor to head to that gathering point. However, the elevator stops on the second floor and when the doors open they reveal Vice President and Mrs. Ford accompanied by a Military AID and two Secret Service agents waiting to board the elevator. Displaying his down to earth political style, Vice President Ford instinctively tells Quinn and his colleague to remain on the elevator as they can all ride down together. Quinn and his co-worker follow right behind the vice president's party as it moves out into the street and makes its way towards the side entrance of the White House. When no-one moves to stop them Quinn keeps going and is if part of the vice president's entourage following them all the way through the White House to the East Room. There he witnesses the historic swearing in of America’s only non-elected president and his first presidential address which begins with the historic phrase “my fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over…” Amb. Quinn reflects on how unexpected it was for a kid from Dubuque to be at such a moment of grave constitutional crisis.

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.