Frank Wills: Watergate watchman

Please take a moment to remember that 42 years ago today [June 17], a security guard named Frank Wills called the police when he found tape over a door lock. What unraveled after that was surely the most incredible series of events in American governmental history.

“Interviewed by The Washington Star-News on the day Nixon resigned, Mr. Wills said, ‘We treat the president like a king, when he should be a man for all the people.’

“He complained that in Nixon’s resignation speech the night before, the president failed to describe his role in the cover-up. ‘I think he should have been a little more specific,’ Mr. Wills said.”

Mr. Wills, who played himself in the movie, “All the President’s Men,” died broke and largely forgotten, of a brain tumor at the age of 52 in South Carolina, where he had moved to take care of his mother. They lived off of her social security, and he couldn’t afford to bury his mother when she died. At the time he passed away, his house had no electricity because he couldn’t afford the bill.

Said the New York Times, “Representative James Mann of South Carolina, a Democrat casting a difficult vote for impeachment on the House Judiciary Committee, said on July 29, 1974: ”If there is no accountability, another president will feel free to do as he chooses. But the next time there may be no watchman in the night.’ ”