Not long before President Reagan’s death, I was working at the Claremont Institute. I was scoping out a nice hotel in Santa Monica (Shutters) with a colleague from the office for a possible fundraising event. In the lobby bar we noticed President Reagan sitting with an aide or a nurse, and a Secret Service agent. It seemed like he was just out for some air or exercise near the beach, and was having a refreshment. We asked the agent if it would be okay to introduce ourselves and shake his hand, and he said it was. We chatted with the president briefly and it was clear that the Alzheimer’s was pretty far along. So we just said, “Thank you, Mr. President for everything you did in office, especially the fight against Communism.” Although he seemed fairly out of it otherwise, he perked up at this, smiled, and said, “I was just doing my job.”
— Glenn Ellmers is a writer working in the federal government.