President Obama’s Leap Day gala for 200 veterans of the Iraq War has invited comparisons to one held nearly 40 years ago at the end of what used to be America’s longest war.
The black tie dinner Richard Nixon gave 600 newly freed prisoners of North Vietnam remains the biggest one held in White House history. Technically, it was outside the White House beneath an enormous red and gold tent within whose folds glowed chandeliers. The White House had to borrow two refrigerator vans from the army to keep the first course (Supreme of Seafood Neptune) and dessert (strawberry mousse) at precisely 36 degrees. Nixon also served the POWs the biggest names in entertainment. Jimmy Stewart. Bob Hope. John Wayne.
Nothing was too good for the men he had used so cruelly.