"We will always remember."
Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004

Today we mourn the passing of President Ronald Reagan. I never met him, yet I feel as though I knew him. Such is the quality of Ronald Reagan’s spirit, his humor, and his leadership that I feel as though he were my own grandfather, or perhaps ‘political’ grandfather. He was called the great communicator. He won two landslide elections. His legacy and leadership puts him on a level of sainthood for many conservatives. He is one of my greatest heroes and I feel his loss deeply today.

"We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."

June 6, 1984 (at the D-Day Commemoration in Normandy, France) -pbs.org

Ronald Reagan's greatest strength was his optimism, his faith in America as an ideal. He believed in the greatness of the American people. He refused to succumb to pessimism about our history, our purpose, or our destiny. But rather he believed in an almost mythical vision of our greatness and our capacity to do god's work here on earth.

We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, "The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind."

We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth. -townhall.com

For me, it is this vision of American nobility that is so appealing and so endearing. I recall even President Clinton praising Reagan for many of these same characteristics and I believe trying to emulate them as well. I know that I would like to be more like him as well.

For his optimism, his hope, his leadership, and his nobility I'd like to honor President Reagan today. And I know no better way to honor the man than with his own words, the words with which he honored us all.

"The poet called Miss Liberty's torch 'the lamp beside the golden door.' Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we're here tonight.

The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise, every opportunity, is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America. Her heart is full; her torch is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the '80s unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed. In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is." August 23, 1984 (in his speech to the Republican National Convention) -pbs.org

God bless you Ronald, and god speed.

Posted by Eric Simonson at June 5, 2004 6:30 PM