Friday, June 18, 2004

Ronald Wilson Reagan

1911 - 2004

In 1980 we were still coming off the disillusion and malaise resulting from Vietnam and Watergate. It was a pessimistic time, and it was hard to see much hope for the future. What could we expect from a former movie actor from California, even if he had been a state governor?

I remembered him from that old TV show; the one where he would introduce the stories. The kind of stories of the old west that in retrospect were very similar to the Louis L'Amour short stories I came to enjoy as an adult.

He was optimistic in a pessimistic time. As I watched the debates, he had a way of exposing the intellectual sophistries that had become prevailing political dogma. He gave voice to those fundamental things we had found difficult to articulate in those dark times.

On Election Day, I sat at the table in the place where our precinct was to vote, representing the party that had nominated him for the highest elected office in the United States of America. They came in to vote. Young and old, the common trait was the sober and serious faces, concern written across their countenances. The voting was heavy in our blue collar, union precinct.

Then came a renewal of hope; a renewed vigor of spirit. Once again we could look to the future with some degree of confidence.

I can remember as a child, the building of the Berlin wall. That wall typified the fear and weight of conflict we of the post WW-II generation had carried all of our life. I never believed I would live to see the day that wall would be torn down. But he issued the challenge, and some time later we all watched in amazement as the medium of TV carried all over the world the images we never thought we would see. For the first time in our post WW-II lives, we had a sense of a degree of peace and safety.

Of the eleven presidents that have served in my lifetime, the greatest was Ronald Wilson Reagan. In my mind he ranks with Washington and Lincoln. To quote another, he now belongs to the ages. Those of us who grew to love and respect him will miss him.


~ The Billy Goat ~

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