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Passing of a Great American


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The passing of one of the most underestimated President's in history. The man who won the cold war by bankrupting the former Soviet Union, while his critics cast him as a bumbling incompident. Sleep well Mr. President, you earned it.

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I had the honor of seeing President Reagan when he passed through my home town during his re-election campaign. We managed a few words from a distance at local Republican H.Q. He was a great leader and an inspiration to all those whom went "door to door' for him.

He was what this country needed at a time when we were in need of a new identity and direction. I'm thankful for his leadership.

May the "Gipper" rest in peace.

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"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

Whether in public, or in our private affairs, true greatness is impossible without living through major difficulty. Ronald Reagan took the heat. He stood his ground. He defied his critics. He took a round in the chest and kept right on fighting for freedom. (I'll always remember that because it happened on my 21st birthday.) That bullet couldn't kill him because he had a destiny to fullfill. Think of the millions of people who are free today because Ronald Regan refused to compromise with communism. An amazing life now is completed.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith". II Tim. 4:7

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I was 18 in 1984 and cast my first vote for president of the United States for Ronald Reagan. I have never regretted that vote nor have I had to second guess it. Seldom has any nation been so fortunate as to have had a leader of the caliber of Ronald Reagan.

Few are the spouses who would provide the support that Nancy has.

May he rest in peace.

-ld

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I was 18 in 1984 and cast my first vote for president of the United States for Ronald Reagan.

Me, too. Except I was 21 in 1984.

I have never regretted that vote nor have I had to second guess it. Seldom has any nation been so fortunate as to have had a leader of the caliber of Ronald Reagan.

Amen to that one.

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I'm not American, but President Reagan was one of my all-time favourite Americans.

He was undoubtedly a great statesman (with a great sense of humour to boot), and he was an excellent orator who exuded confidence and comfort. Whenever he spoke, it was like a father reassurring his son that everything was going to be OK on his shift. And it was.

My sincere condolences to Mrs. Reagan and to the rest of America.

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Very few deaths of public figures have affected me like the loss of Ronald Reagan. The one that comes to mind is Jimmy Stewart in the tangible sense of loss of a decent human being from this earth.

When I was young, nuclear armageddon was virtually an accepted certainty. Reagan singlehandedly liberated future generations from this horrific fear. It is a debt we can never repay.

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Sam ,

at 21 yrs old now, I am a bit young to recall any of Mr. Reagan's actions, but he was well covered in school. kinda odd how his refusal to compromise that saved us all, is now no longer appreciated when G.W. does the same.

rest in peace Mr. President

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Without naming names, let's just say that years ago, during Bill Clinton's first term, a friend of mine had occasion to talk to a veteran and still active Secret Service agent who'd protected every US president since Kennedy. Part of the conversation was a surprisingly candid personality assessment of Reagan, Bush (Sr., obviously) and Clinton. In the cases of Bush and Clinton, his comments were not always positive.

Anyway, that part of the conversation began when my friend asked him, "So, tell the truth....would you REALLY take a bullet for Bill Clinton?" His reply was, "Are you kidding me? But I'd have taken a bullet for Ronald Reagan. A lot of people think that laidback, friendly, ultimate nice guy persona of his was an act. I'm here to tell you, it wasn't. He was really like that. Everyone loved Reagan."

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Nancy probably was very alone for the past ten years. What a horrible, horrible disease for a loved one to have.

You have absolutely no idea what a challenge it is until you actually have to do it. My mom did it for 3 months unbeknownst to me. My sister clued me in and I helped for the last two weeks and it damn near killed me. It's literally 24/7 care. 10 years is a prison sentence any way you cut it - even if you have help.

The woman should get a medal for both surviving the ordeal and handling it with the grace and dignity that preserved the nation's memory of the real Ronald Reagan. It's an incredible sacrifice on her part. Bless her heart.

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Mrs. Reagan said in one of the early interviews "He's been in another place for a long time, now he has peace."

How do you honor the man that changed our world forever? He did it with humor, firmness and dedication to values of freedom not only for America but the entire world that never changed.

America showed him what they though of him in 1984. We need to remind those who didn't have that privilege to vote for him in 1980 or 1984 what he stood for.

My 7-year-old son asked who Mr. Reagan was. It was hard to tell him in a way he would understand. All I could come up with was that he was to me a great, great man that freed millions of people. He asked “Like Mr. Lincoln?” My response was “Sort of, but Mr. Reagan did it for the whole world.”

I want to start a campaign to get Mr. Reagan on the $100 bill. Since that's the largest bill in circulation, he should be on it.

Any helpers?

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Today has been extraordinarily hard...

This week has been tough...

I've lived the week with a lump in my throat the size of a basketball...

The repeated quotes and history of this man have caused emotions to flow out that I didn't expect. I was 18 when he ran for re-election. I was in the Navy and didn't vote. I was raised in a conservative democrat family that hated Reagan. Or maybe just Republicans in general. I was young and didn't think political at the time so none of it hit me. During the 1992 election I became interested. Klinton made a very specific point of tearing down the Reagan years. I took the occasion to review Mr. Reagan's presidency. I started to find outright lies and serious mis-conceptions made by the left. I started to realize that I related very closely with what Mr. Reagan was and what he wanted for this nation and the world.

I attest Klinton to bringing me to the Republican party. Thanks Willie!!!

Ronald Reagan was MY commander in chief. I'm proud to have served under his leadership. I'm sure the members of the services of the mid to late ninties envy me. I would.

Today I was glad that it was very hot and humid in central Indiana. I had sunglasses and sweat to hide the pools of tears as I listened to the state funeral.

Baroness Thatcher, Bush 41, Bush 43...

Priceless...

I know that there are members of the forum that detest the idea of remembering President Reagan. I ask those members to give us this day. Allow us to honor a man we as Americans truely loved.

Mr. and Mrs. Reagan lived a LIFE of love that many of us will never, ever understand. They lived a life of returning a love to America.

Thank You...

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Here is President Bush's eulogy for President Reagan. It is one of the most beautiful, heartfelt, honest and sincere speeches that I have heard. It drew me to tears and want you to share in the beauty of these words:

The National Cathedral

Washington, D.C.

THE PRESIDENT: Mrs. Reagan, Patti, Michael, and Ron; members of the Reagan family; distinguished guests, including our Presidents and First Ladies; Reverend Danforth; fellow citizens:

We lost Ronald Reagan only days ago, but we have missed him for a long time. We have missed his kindly presence, that reassuring voice, and the happy ending we had wished for him. It has been ten years since he said his own farewell; yet it is still very sad and hard to let him go. Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us.

In a life of good fortune, he valued above all the gracious gift of his wife, Nancy. During his career, Ronald Reagan passed through a thousand crowded places; but there was only one person, he said, who could make him lonely by just leaving the room.

America honors you, Nancy, for the loyalty and love you gave this man on a wonderful journey, and to that journey's end. Today, our whole nation grieves with you and your family.

When the sun sets tonight off the coast of California, and we lay to rest our 40th President, a great American story will close. The second son of Nell and Jack Reagan first knew the world as a place of open plains, quiet streets, gas-lit rooms, and carriages drawn by horse. If you could go back to the Dixon, Illinois of 1922, you'd find a boy of 11 reading adventure stories at the public library, or running with his brother, Neil, along Rock River, and coming home to a little house on Hennepin Avenue. That town was the kind of place you remember where you prayed side by side with your neighbors, and if things were going wrong for them, you prayed for them, and knew they'd pray for you if things went wrong for you.

The Reagan family would see its share of hardship, struggle and uncertainty. And out of that circumstance came a young man of steadiness, calm, and a cheerful confidence that life would bring good things. The qualities all of us have seen in Ronald Reagan were first spotted 70 and 80 years ago. As a lifeguard in Lowell Park, he was the protector keeping an eye out for trouble. As a sports announcer on the radio, he was the friendly voice that made you see the game as he did. As an actor, he was the handsome, all-American, good guy, which, in his case, required knowing his lines -- and being himself.

Along the way, certain convictions were formed and fixed in the man. Ronald Reagan believed that everything happened for a reason, and that we should strive to know and do the will of God. He believed that the gentleman always does the kindest thing. He believed that people were basically good, and had the right to be free. He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of. He believed in the Golden Rule and in the power of prayer. He believed that America was not just a place in the world, but the hope of the world.

And he believed in taking a break now and then, because, as he said, there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.

Ronald Reagan spent decades in the film industry and in politics, fields known, on occasion, to change a man. But not this man. From Dixon to Des Moines, to Hollywood to Sacramento, to Washington, D.C., all who met him remembered the same sincere, honest, upright fellow. Ronald Reagan's deepest beliefs never had much to do with fashion or convenience. His convictions were always politely stated, affably argued, and as firm and straight as the columns of this cathedral.

There came a point in Ronald Reagan's film career when people started seeing a future beyond the movies. The actor, Robert Cummings, recalled one occasion. "I was sitting around the set with all these people and we were listening to Ronnie, quite absorbed. I said, 'Ron, have you ever considered someday becoming President?' He said, 'President of what?' 'President of the United States,' I said. And he said, 'What's the matter, don't you like my acting either?'" (Laughter.)

The clarity and intensity of Ronald Reagan's convictions led to speaking engagements around the country, and a new following he did not seek or expect. He often began his speeches by saying, "I'm going to talk about controversial things." And then he spoke of communist rulers as slavemasters, of a government in Washington that had far overstepped its proper limits, of a time for choosing that was drawing near. In the space of a few years, he took ideas and principles that were mainly found in journals and books, and turned them into a broad, hopeful movement ready to govern.

As soon as Ronald Reagan became California's governor, observers saw a star in the West -- tanned, well-tailored, in command, and on his way. In the 1960s, his friend, Bill Buckley, wrote, "Reagan is indisputably a part of America, and he may become a part of American history."

Ronald Reagan's moment arrived in 1980. He came out ahead of some very good men, including one from Plains, and one from Houston. What followed was one of the decisive decades of the century, as the convictions that shaped the President began to shape the times.

He came to office with great hopes for America, and more than hopes -- like the President he had revered and once saw in person, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan matched an optimistic temperament with bold, persistent action. President Reagan was optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, and he acted to restore the reward and spirit of enterprise. He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required. He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.

And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by its name. There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American President had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings, where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall as the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.

The ideology he opposed throughout his political life insisted that history was moved by impersonal ties and unalterable fates. Ronald Reagan believed instead in the courage and triumph of free men. And we believe it, all the more, because we saw that courage in him.

As he showed what a President should be, he also showed us what a man should be. Ronald Reagan carried himself, even in the most powerful office, with a decency and attention to small kindnesses that also defined a good life. He was a courtly, gentle and considerate man, never known to slight or embarrass others. Many people across the country cherish letters he wrote in his own hand

-- to family members on important occasions; to old friends dealing with sickness and loss; to strangers with questions about his days in Hollywood. A boy once wrote to him requesting federal assistance to help clean up his bedroom. (Laughter.)

The President replied that, "unfortunately, funds are dangerously low."

(Laughter.) He continued, "I'm sure your mother was fully justified in proclaiming your room a disaster. Therefore, you are in an excellent position to launch another volunteer program in our nation. Congratulations."

(Laughter.)

Sure, our 40th President wore his title lightly, and it fit like a white Stetson. In the end, through his belief in our country and his love for our country, he became an enduring symbol of our country. We think of his steady stride, that tilt of a head and snap of a salute, the big-screen smile, and the glint in his Irish eyes when a story came to mind.

We think of a man advancing in years with the sweetness and sincerity of a Scout saying the Pledge. We think of that grave _expression that sometimes came over his face, the seriousness of a man angered by injustice -- and frightened by nothing. We know, as he always said, that America's best days are ahead of us, but with Ronald Reagan's passing, some very fine days are behind us, and that is worth our tears.

Americans saw death approach Ronald Reagan twice, in a moment of violence, and then in the years of departing light. He met both with courage and grace. In these trials, he showed how a man so enchanted by life can be at peace with life's end.

And where does that strength come from? Where is that courage learned? It is the faith of a boy who read the Bible with his mom. It is the faith of a man lying in an operating room, who prayed for the one who shot him before he prayed for himself. It is the faith of a man with a fearful illness, who waited on the Lord to call him home.

Now, death has done all that death can do. And as Ronald Wilson Reagan goes his way, we are left with the joyful hope he shared. In his last years, he saw through a glass darkly. Now he sees his Savior face to face.

And we look to that fine day when we will see him again, all weariness gone, clear of mind, strong and sure, and smiling again, and the sorrow of his parting gone forever.

May God bless Ronald Reagan, and the country he loved.

God Bless America, the City on the Hill that Reagan spoke of and loved so much.

Rich

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