(click pictures to enlarge)
I visited the Reagan Presidential Library last Friday and have been struggling in how to present it here in the blog. Reagan was a great president and the library is a great tribute to him. My struggle was how to write about such a large subject in a small venue like a blog. I decided not to go into a lot of details as to his life and career. Everyone knows he had an acting career before being elected to two terms as the Governor of California and ultimately two terms as President of the United States of America. Instead, as much as possible, I will try to let his quotations speak for themselves.
|The entrance to the library. Nothing fancy here.|
Certain Presidents come along at times of great need for the country; Reagan was one of those. Before his election as president in 1980, the country had been going through some tough times (growing pains) for 20 years. He came into office talking about the greatness of free people everywhere and America in particular. The lead sentence in an article written by the Public Broadcasting Service, definitely not one of his ardent supporters, sums it up this way: "From his earliest days as a public speaker to his final days in the public eye, Ronald Reagan never made a speech that didn't invoke America's greatness." That attitude stands in stark contrast to certain political leaders today.
In 1980, Reagan won the presidential election with 51% of the popular vote. Four years later, he was reelected with 59% of the popular vote. During the 1984 election, 1/4 of every registered Democrat voted for Reagan. He won every state except Minnesota. That is an example of crossing party lines and appealing to voters of all stripes. Reagan's increase in popular vote from his first term to his second is the largest since Nixon. In fact, every 2 term president since Ike in '52 and '56 has increased their popular vote in their second term except President Obama whose dropped 2 percentage points. No finger pointing, just facts.
The following quotes are some of my favorites that help define the man who lead America back to the light after enduring a dark time. He helped us remember what it was to be a free individual and an American.
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
"We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.”
"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives”
“Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root... Our military strength is a prerequisite to peace, but let it be clear we maintain this strength in the hope it will never be used, for the ultimate determinant in the struggle that's now going on in the world will not be bombs and rockets but a test of wills and ideas, a trial of spiritual resolve, the values we hold, the beliefs we cherish, the ideals to which we are dedicated.”
"It is up to us,,,to work together for progress and humanity so that our grandchildren, when they look back at us, can truly say that we not only preserved the flame of freedom, but cast its warmth and light further than those who came before us."
"Whatever else history may say about me when I'm done, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty's lamp guiding your steps and opportunity's arm steadying your way."
The following quote is from his letter to the American people in 1994 when he told the world that he had Alzheimer Disease. Again, part of his thoughts even at that time, was about America.
"In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future. I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."
Reagan died in 2004. Current and former leaders from around the world attended his funeral to pay their respects. Even former enemies, such as the last leader of the former Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev attended. Margret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain during Reagan's terms, attended the funeral against the advice of her doctors. Thatcher and Reagan were kindred spirits and were of like minds when it came to freedom, democracy, liberty. Thatcher died in April of 2013. The Queen of England attended the funeral which she had not done for a former minister since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965. There was not a single, actively serving member of the Democrat Party at the funeral. President Obama did not send anyone from his administration to attend the funeral of the former leader of our closest ally. Again, in stark contrast, just one month earlier in March of 2013, President Obama sent a 14 member delegation to the funeral of the Venezuelan Dictator, Hugo Chavez. Again, just stating facts.
The library is very nice. The exhibits are presented in a very respectful manner and you are giving the freedom and space to linger when the needs strikes you. I'm glad I attended.
|The view out the large window in front of Air Force One.|
|I enjoyed a pretty good Rueban Sandwich from the restaurant at the Library. Maybe the view made it taste better.|