On July 4, 1976, I was working in the Current Intelligence Office of the State Department Operations Center. It was the 200th anniversary of US independence. The glitterati were having a big party in the eighth-floor diplomatic reception rooms of the State Department. My shift happened to be in the evening while the fireworks on the mall were going off. The powers that be invited all the officers working in the Operations Center to come up for a few minutes and watch the fireworks from the eighth-floor balcony overlooking the mall. I went, and although I could only stay a few minutes, it was memorable.
A few years later while I was working on the Brazil desk, President Jimmy Carter held a dinner for all the Latin American ambassadors in Washington. I had to meet the Brazilian Ambassador and escort him up to the dinner, they wait and escort him out of the building after dinner, along with the desk officers for the other Latin American countries. While we were waiting, Rosalynn Carter came down to thank us all for helping out with the dinner. She demonstrated the Carters’ concern for the little guys, and I appreciated it.