A group of about 25 journalists and friends got together in the National Press Club to celebrate the life and birthday of ground breaking journalist Helen Thomas. We met in the McLendon Room, which was appropriate. When I came into the White House press corps, in l968, Helen and Sarah McClendon were the senior correspondents.
Helen's mind and voice are as sharp as ever, but her body is more delicate (that happens to many of us). Our one rule of the get together was -- no politics! We have enough of that the rest of the time. In addition, none of us are without controversy or opinions. We would not be worthy of our profession if we did not provoke controversy at times! It is also nice to show kindness to all of us as we advance in age.
The Press Club get-together was part of Taco Night, held every Friday night in the Press Club for members and guests. Another veteran journalist, Robert Webb, invites an interesting mixture of journalists to join him. This week, we had guests from all over the United States, as well as Taiwan, Iran, Malta and other world travelers.
At the end of the dinner, we all reflected on Helen's career. She still writes and keeps up with the news. We had birthday cakes and sang tributes.
There are a dwindling number of veteran reporters left in the White House. We all have our experiences and advice to share!