This weekend we remember the 17th anniversary of President Reagan’s death. It was not a shock because the President’s health had declined. Nevertheless, it was a sad day and the funeral was worth watching.
By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard everything about President Reagan, from his sense of humor to those wonderful speeches that he left us.
What’s better than Reagan’s 1964 speech supporting Senator Goldwater? I did not catch up with this one until I joined the Reagan 1976 campaign as a volunteer. I went out to hand out some brochures and my partner that day mentioned the speech. We did not have videos back then, so I read it. Frankly, every freedom-loving American should read it. A line from the transcript hit home and I remember sharing it with my parents:
Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.
Isn’t that the truth?
What about his nomination speech from 1980? I watched this one on TV and it was very good. Or his D-Day speech from 1984? My favorite Reagan speech. I learned later just how important this speech when I met Bob Jagers, author, church friend, and D-Day veteran, who died a couple of months ago. Or his “Tear down this wall” speech from June 1987? I watched that one holding our first son, who was about 20 days old.
Even the “I knew Thomas Jefferson” speech from the 1992 GOP Convention still cracks me up! I think that this was his last public appearance but he brought down the house with that line.
My very favorite Reagan story has a special meaning because my mother died three weeks ago. Back in 1984, she worked very hard to become a U.S. citizen. She studied and memorized everything. We finally took her down to the convention center for the swearing in ceremony. She became a U.S. citizen and in Spanish said something like: “I’m ready to vote for Reagan!”
Today, I’ll remember President Reagan and my mother who admired him so much.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).