Sunday, June 06, 2004

SJ-R.COM - A Nation Mourns

Ronald Reagan was the first President I remember in any detail. I remember a few things about Ford and Carter, but Ronald Reagan was the first who I remembered as doing anything to help bring the country out of its funk. He was inspirational, even to a little boy in the Midwest. He was reassuring, confident, and kept his sense of humor even in dark times. Ronald Reagan was exactly the man we needed to face down Soviet aggression. He was exactly the man who was willing to tell Communists that there was no place for them in the United Staes, or the community of free nations. I always remember the adults, those who were my parents' age, who seethed at every mention of Reagan's name, whose voices dripped tiny amounts of bile and venom whenever the subject of Ronald Reagan appeared. He was hated for refusing to compromise on socialism. He was hated for wanting to bring back the honor that comes with wearing the uniform of military service. He was hated for not allowing dissidents, capitalists and those who loved liberty to be sacrificed on the altars of communist totalitarianism. No matter what, those who hated him always found something to hate. Read the article I've linked above, and you'll see what I mean. The writers certainly don't want to remind you that the nation improved during his term as President.

Ronald Reagan did return honor to the military. He returned patriotism to its place in American hearts. He allowed our nation to use tools of democracy such as free speech and free press to provide support to nations like the Phillippines and South Africa, to provide them with more accountable governments. His words stiffened our spines and gave us the resolve to become the greatest nation in the world. Ronald Reagan led by example, exhorting other nations to follow his lead.

I remember President Reagan's visit to Springfield in 1986. I was so sad that I missed a chance to see this man who was born in a town just a few hours north of my hometown. I wanted to hear him speak the words that assured us that our nation was still capable of great things, capable of leading the world. He'll never be able to set foot in Illinois again, but his leadership will be emulated for years to come. Resolve tempered with humor is the best way to remember him.

Goodbye, sir. Thank you for your service.

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