Saturday, June 05, 2004

Today we mourn the passing of the 40th President of the United States. This afternoon, at the age of 93, President Ronald Reagan died at his home in Bel-Air, California. President Reagan had been battling Alzheimer's for the last ten years and as of late was suffering from pnuemonia. It is with heavy heart that we honor the passing President Reagan. The first President I can remember seeing for I was too young to remember President Carter. It was the policies of President Reagan which aided the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He was a man of great optimism and strong principles. He was there to comfort a nation after the Challenger disaster on a night he was scheduled to deliever the State of the Union Address. What I will rememeber most, is when he directly addressed the children of America in that speech with these words:
And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them...

Of all his great speeches, of anything I can think of quoting here, I can only find one fitting enough for this day. Twenty years ago, President Reagan stood at Pointe Du Hoc overlooking Normandy on the 40th Annivesary of D-Day and delievered on of the greatest speeches of any President. These words ring true today as we mourn the loss and remember the legacy of a great American:

These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your 'lives fought for life...and left the vivid air signed with your honor'...

Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States, Dead at the age of 93. Our prayers are with his family.

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