National Checkers Day doesn’t have anything to do with the popular board game; rather, it commemorates the famous ‘checkers‘ speech made by Richard M. Nixon in 1952 after he received an adorable Cocker Spaniel as he sought election in 1952.
Politicians are banned from taking donations for their own use so, when he was accused of this by rivals, like many others seeking election, Nixon faced allegations that he had misused donations for election expenses and syphoned these off for his personal use.
Rather than shy away from these allegations, Nixon decided to address these head-on during a 30-minute TV debate.
However it was not his use of financial details that led to this speech becoming one of the most celebrated in US history, rather it was the introduction of Checkers, the Cocker Spaniel, to the public which made it memorable. Voters were won over when Nixon told them about his children’s love for Checkers.
“Our little girl named it Checkers and, you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog and I just want to say this right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we’re gonna keep it.”
Still, that’s no reason not to have a game or two of checkers – and you’ll probably have more fun anyway.