Monday, March 28, 2011

Easter at Camp David

President and Mrs. Ford attend an Easter Service in Thurmont, MD in 1976

A quick search of the Google News Archive found a number of Camp David Easter visits over the years. President Johnson went to Camp David over Easter weekend in 1967 with the First Lady and daughter Lynda .  They attended a church service at a nearby Episcopal church.  The White House reported that Mrs. Johnson wore a mimosa yellow silken wool coat with a yellow dress.

Former First Lady Mamie Eisenhower joined the Nixons for an Easter celebration at Camp David in 1971.  They attended a service at the nearby Thurmont United Methodist Church.  It was reported that Mrs. Nixon and Mrs. Eisenhower wore lavender outfits and Nixon daughters Julie and Tricia wore blue.  After the service, the group returned to Camp David for an Easter dinner.

The Nixons also returned to Camp David for Easter the following year. The weekend included a party on Saturday night in the Aspen Lodge to celebrate David Eisenhower's 24th birthday. In 1973, President Nixon  gave his aides John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman the use of Camp David over Easter Weekend while he went to Florida instead.

The Clintons attend the Easter Service - April 16, 1995
President Ford and First Lady Betty attended an Easter service in 1976 at the Episcopal Harriet Chapel in Thurmont. The weekend's Camp David activities also included swimming in the outdoor pool, tennis, and watching the new Hitchcock movie "The Family Plot".

In 1978, an ice storm forced President Carter to cancel his plans to attend a sunrise service at nearby Fort Ritchie. The army chaplain there braved the icy roads to perform the Easter service at Camp David instead under lights powered by an emergency generator.

President Bush and First Lady Barbara celebrated Easter at Camp David with some of their children and grandchildren in 1989.  They attended an Easter service on Sunday morning followed by an Easter Egg Hunt for the grandchildren. The menu for their Easter dinner included roast turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans, cranberry sauce and blueberry and pecan pies. First Dog Millie and her six newborn puppies also came along for the weekend.

The Clintons spent their first Easter at Camp David in 1993. They attended mass at the Evergreen Chapel and then shared an Easter dinner with family and friends.  They also went to Camp David at Easter in 1995 and 1998.

President George W. Bush usually spent Easter at his ranch in Texas except in 2006 and 2008 when he celebrated Easter at Camp David.  Below are photos from the 2006 Easter service at the Evergreen Chapel and the Easter lunch menu.

Sources: GPO Access; St. Petersburg Times; Lodi News-Sentinel; Herald-Journal; The Windsor Star; The Victoria Advocate; Milwaukee Sentinel;; Living History; Time Will Tell; The White House