A One Hundred Year Tribute to President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan achieved great milestones in spite of many obstacles. Prior to graduating from Eureka College, Illinois in the depth of the Great Depression, he worked as a lifeguard and saved 77 lives from drowning. Beginning with his several years as a radio sports announcer and through his film career in Hollywood as a successful actor, he treasured his time as a lifeguard and the lives he had saved. He would continue this propensity for rescue.

As president of the Screen Actors Guild, he helped rescue Hollywood from the post World War II influence of radical communists. In 1946, aware of threats from that infiltration into Hollywood unions, the Burbank Police issued Ronald Reagan a concealed carry permit.

Ronald Reagan attempted to rescue the Goldwater campaign in 1964 with “The Speech”. He solidified his Republican credentials stating “… I did not leave the FDR/ Truman Democratic Party; they left me..” Following a several-decade movie career and hosting the General Electric Theater where millions watched as he upheld traditional American values, he was elected Governor of California in 1966.

In 1980, he rescued the Republican Party from the excesses and disappointments of the Nixon Administration when he was elected President at age 68. A rescue even occurred upon Inauguration when the Iranian hostages were suddenly released after 444 days of captivity. His next major rescue: the Air Traffic Control system. He commanded strikers back to work or be replaced. He replaced the recalcitrants and ran ATC with returnees plus military and civilian controllers. He broke the union and saved the system.

He directed federal economic policy away from malaise and the “misery index” (inflation plus unemployment) of four years of the Carter Administration. During an early cabinet meeting, Ronald Reagan set the agenda for his Presidency with the following ”…I do not like taxes, inflation, or communism…” President Reagan persuaded Congress to slash everyone’s tax rates, resulting in an explosion of entrepreneurial efforts and a new generation of innovation. By 1984 that misery index had approached record lows; and Ronald Reagan was re-elected, winning 49 States!
President Reagan quipped about “not ducking” following a near assassination. Americans applauded his sense of humor and his resolve. He then focused on another rescue: freeing the world from the Cold War and tens of thousands of hair-triggered nuclear weapons. In spite of the objections of many of his own advisors, he stuck to his pronouncements that the Soviet Union was an evil empire that would fail from internal corruption and inefficiency.

President Reagan publicly supported the early 1980’s rebellions for democracy in Poland and Eastern Europe. His moral support for freedom helped to empower leaders like Lech Walenza. His insistence on a rational defense policy, development of anti-ballistic missiles, forced the Soviet Union to respond. Their planned economy could not successfully compete with a free economy and just a half dozen years of a spirited but peaceful military challenge. Ultimately the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics collapsed (confirming Reagan’s convictions), leaving Russia and its former republics as independent entities. Talk about the domino effect! The Cold War finally ended when Mr. Gorbachev had no choice but to… “..Tear down that wall…”

From the 1940’s, Reagan rescued the world from the lies of a century of international socialism and communism. He coherently and constantly defended the values of individualism and liberty; he rose from a childhood of poverty to a position of privilege and power. For Ronald Reagan, it began with American founding principles of a limited federal government that provides adequate national security without stifling the private economy. Thousands of hand-written speeches and letters attest to the scholarship behind his pervasive wisdom and optimism. His dominant elections as Governor and President attest to the ideals, character, and leadership of our 40th President.

Mark Lindberg
Mountain View, CA

F. William Ballou
Williamsburg, VA