With the passing of Ronald Reagan this day June 5, 2004, I would like to join in condolences to America with a few of my own personal observations.
Most of all, he was a warm and generous person, in public and private. People responded to this. He did not have a mean bone in his body. Of eleven United States Presidents who served in office since I began grade school, Reagan was one of two Republicans and two Democrats I liked on a personal level.
Many coat-tail politicians tried to bootstrap on the Reagan years (1981-1989), invoking asinine policies in the name of “Reaganomics”, and claiming personal credit for “us” defeating communism. Despite “Evil Empire” rhetoric, the Reagan years were memorable for stable relations with the Kremlin as well as our allies in Europe, built on both diplomacy and a strong military. These years were marked by a long spell of almost unparalleled peacetime prosperity. Reagan believed in the American way, and he lived up to his faith by promoting our way of life through peaceful means.
There are some who will remember his tenure grudgingly because he was not a Democrat. Others will blindly glorify the Reagan years beyond all reason or common sense just because he was a Republican. These are the folks destined to miss the point. This is not the way to reach the brass ring. Ronald Reagan was a strong and diplomatic United States President who attracted people of real competence and ability. He was capable and caring. He was a nice guy. He will be missed.
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