An e-mail I just got, one of more than a few. We’ll be posting testimonials during the week:
I don’t know why I’m writing you this, other than the fact that I can’t get a hold of anyone close to me that I can talk about the effect of Reagan’s death with. I guess it’s the feeling of friendship which evolves when one follows the career of public figures whom he admires. You guys and gals don’t know me from Adam, but I feel I know NRO somewhat, so I wanted to share my feelings on this bittersweet day (I say bittersweet because, as sad as this day may be, in the touched-on “Irish wake” manner, there is a great celebration and remembrance of Reagan’s life, which can’t help but bring a smile to my face while tears are rolling down my cheeks).
Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States of America for the majority of and the most important formative part of my childhood. Born in 1976, I was just old enough to have real memories by the time he came to the Office. He was President from the time I was four until I was twelve, and I can honestly say I don’t remember first hand a single speech, a single act, a single specific event that he was involved in. I was too young for specifics. What I do remember was knowing that I was a child in the United States of America, and that Ronald Reagan was my President. I remember from my earliest days knowing great joy and pride that I was a child in the United States of America, and even then I knew that in part he was to be credited. I remember seeing snipets of speeches and events and viewing the man with awe. At the time, the awe was mainly for the Office, not the man. In the fifteen years I’ve lived since he left office, I’ve come to replace my awe of President Ronald Reagan with an even greater awe of the man Ronald Reagan.
“It’s morning again in America”. How beautiful a turn of phrase that is. And it was true. We had wakened from a dark night of scandal, malaise, and distrust to re-elect and re-affirm a man with strength, character, vision, and faith. A man who knew the battles he wanted to fight, and would compromise outside these battles but fight to the end when he knew he was right. A man who conveyed his joy and love and faith in our country to the rest of us, who looked up and understood that we *were* the “shining city on the hill”. That we should stand up and rejoice, for we were Americans, and we should thank God that this was true. That we had hard times and hard battles ahead of us, but we should never, ever, lose sight of the simple fact that America is the “last, best hope for mankind” and worth all the praise and love we can shower upon this great nation.
Reagan made us see this. He made us proud again to be Americans. With his quick, wry wit, his personal warmth, his strength of character, and his unshakable faith in the ideals of America he changed our world for the better. I offer my solemn prayer that he now rests in the hands of the Creator, comforted by the knowledge that the country he loved so much offers love to his memory, condolences to his family, and eternal gratitude for his vision and determination.
May he rest in peace.