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Monday, June 07, 2004

Rest in Peace, Ronnie

The boyhood home of Ronald Wilson Reagan, President of the United States (1981-1989). President Reagan died at the age of 93 this Saturday. Posted by Hello

My very first political action was to vote AGAINST Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election. (Those who know me very well might find this the hardest factoid about me to believe of anything they've ever heard, but let me explain...)

I was 7 (going on 8) at the time, in second grade at Adams Elementary School in Hamilton, Ohio. My teacher was Mrs. Clark, and while I have blocked much of that year of school (including some elementary spelling, if you must know) from my mind because of the atmosphere she perpetuated, I do remember the class gathering to read Weekly Reader every week, and one of the things WR was known for was asking the students to vote for President. I believe they are very accurate in predicting the actual winner, if news stories are to be believed.

Regardless, I remember vividly that the makeup of my class had President Carter being beat soundly (and, they were right). I felt bad for a President who was so unpopular. I decided to help him keep a little dignity, even if it was only in Mrs. Clark's second grade class. I raised my hand to vote for President Carter because I figured I would help him not lose so dramatically.

Of course, I also remember the day when President Reagan was shot. I remember that quite vividly. Then, there was the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, where he spoke so passionately on one hand, and was tender and caring with the families on the other. I also remember, probably more so because I've seen the footage a million times now, the tingly, bigger-than-me feeling I got when President Reagan challenged the Soviets to "tear down this wall." It still gives me chills.

There is no doubt that I am a Reaganite, in many ways. Even now, I'm drawn more to those political candidates who remind me of Reagan. He is, and will remain for me, the ideal of what a President should be. All others will be measured against his standard.

We've lost a great leader, but we really lost him 8 or 10 years ago. The Ronald Reagan we lost this weekend was the husband, father, and friend who still remained long after a terrible affliction had robed him of his memories, his personality, and much of the core of who he was. But for Nancy and the children, he was still the person they loved, and that Ronnie is gone today. But, he's gone from here into a renewal of spirit.

You'll be missed, Mr. President. We owe you a great deal. May you find yourself renewed in the presence of your Creator.

You may express your sympathy to Mrs. Reagan and the family at: https://www.ronaldreaganmemorial.com/condolence_book.asp


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