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Commentary – Honoring and Remembering our 40th President, Ronald Reagan

Just days ago we marked what would have been the 100th birthday of our nation’s 40th President, Ronald Wilson Reagan.  It was a time to honor a man who led such an extraordinary life which had a profound impact on the span of human history.

President Reagan was born in a small town in Illinois.  At his birth his father remarked, “…who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.”  He couldn’t have known just how true these simple words would be one day.

Ronald Reagan spent his youth on the football field and on the stage as president of his high school drama club.  With dreams of a broadcasting career Reagan headed west to California. He became a star on the silver screen and had his first taste of politics as president of the Screen Actors Guild. It was apparent that he was destined for greatness.

Ronald Reagan was twice elected Governor of California and then on November 4, 1980 he was elected to his first term as President of the United States.

In his eight years as president, Ronald Reagan accomplished many things.  I believe that he was the greatest president of the twentieth century.  He led America to win the Cold War by rebuilding our military.  He reinstilled the economic greatness of this country from the malaise of the 1970s by restoring our faith in the free enterprise system.  His efforts to reduce the tax burden on all Americans encouraged innovation.  But most importantly he instilled in us his eternal optimism in America.  In his first State of the Union address, President Reagan reminded us all to not “… let anyone tell you that America’s best days are behind her, that the American spirit has been vanquished.  We’ve seen it triumph too often in our lives to stop believing in it now.”

I encourage all Americans to take a moment and reflect on these profound words which still ring true today.  While as a country we will continue to confront challenges at home and abroad we must always remember that despite the challenging road ahead of us, we are more than equal to the task before us.

In his farewell address Reagan described how he envisioned the “shining city,” he had invoked countless times.  He observed this of his time in office, “We weren’t just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.”

Not bad reflects the modesty of the man but not the magnitude of his accomplishments.  He set this nation on a new course that still inspires us.  We have a right to dream great dreams he said…because after all we are Americans.

– Congressman Bob Goodlatte

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