In 1868, President Andrew Johnson gave Secretary of War Edwin Stanton his walking papers, precipitating a showdown with Congress that the president very nearly lost.
In 1885, in the waning days of Chester A. Arthur’s presidency, the Washington Monument, so long delayed, was at last dedicated.
In 1972, Nixon arrived in China. “International diplomacy can sometimes come down to the most mundane details,” wrote Alexander Burns in American Heritage magazine on the trip. ”On February 21, 1972, President Richard Nixon prepared to get off his plane in Beijing and he was faced with a crucial decision. Should he take off his overcoat or leave it on? When his staff informed him that Chou En-lai, the Chinese premier, was waiting on the tarmac with his coat securely on, Nixon decided not to remove his own. He hardly wanted to be showing off American superiority in braving the cold. And so Nixon descended from Air Force One to begin a diplomatic visit that would reshape the state of international affairs.”