Perhaps not since the Boston Tea Party has the breaking of the law been so celebrated. On the 10th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, people all over Washington decided to break out the cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Some snapshots from around town:
At 7:40 last night no one answered a knock on the door of Room 723 at the Howard Johnson's motel.
Ten years ago, however, the room was filled with the sound of voices coming through walkie-talkies from inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters across the street.
On the 10th anniversary of the famed burglary, the noise was still coming from the Watergate, but this time it was in the Riverview Room of the posh hotel. There, about 300 people celebrated the break-in at a party thrown by Robert McCandless, John Dean's former attorney and brother-in-law.
The guests stood in the hot, bright lights of the television cameras and ate steak tartare, strips of salmon and jumbo shrimp, with fancy plates and silver forks. They washed it all down with strong drinks while a combo played "Rock Around the Clock."
"Richard Nixon once said one year of wallowing in Watergate is enough," said Father Robert Drinan, "but maybe we should say tonight that 10 years of wallowing in Watergate is NOT enough."
Most people--attorneys, friends and reporters who had covered Watergate--reminisced candidly.
"All those crummy people," said Dr. Edgar Berman, author, "when they turned over the damp rock, they found a bunch of squirming worms--especially Nixon. Tonight's not a celebration; it's a gathering of a clan who survived Watergate."
Drinan and three others at the party had served on the House Judiciary Committee that voted the articles of impeachment.
"It's good to remember things that are unpleasant," said Walter Flowers, one of the former committee members, "as well as things that are pleasant. That experience was unpleasant for me and for the country."
McCandless then raised his glass and led the crowd in a toast: "May we never have another nightmare like Watergate."