Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator

America just celebrated two great acts of liberation.

The 60th Anniversary of D-Day marked the beginning of the final military assault that eventuated in the liberation of western Europe. Over 300,000 military personnel on approximately 70,000 differing boats and ships assaulted the beaches of Normandy in acts of uncommon valor. That initial day over 10,000 allied forces died and world of millions in western Europe were dramatically changed. We all needed a reminder of that great sacrifice in interpreting the events of today.

The second celebration was actually occasioned by a death and funeral. In the death of the lionized President Ronald Reagan note needs to be made of him being the human instrument responsible for the liberation of as many people in eastern Europe.

His incomparable charge issued in Berlin, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear this wall down,” caused the iron curtain of Communism to waver and eventually fall all around the suppressed people of eastern Europe. His strong will is seen in his daring to use that phrase against the advice of his councilors who even in the limo on the way to give the speech urged him not to use it. That emancipation, however, freed almost as many people as the invasion of Europe under President Roosevelt.

Today western Europe responds to us in a manner indicating they have forgotten what price the citizens of America paid for them. In eastern Europe the situation being more current is different. Leaders of these emerging countries are emulating President Reagan in many regards. Also, their support of our current policies comes from an awareness of what it means to be liberated.

Like him or not, and I did, Mr. Reagan changed the world like no other figure in recent years. His amiable nature, winsome smile, wit, and the ability to encapsulate a world of meaning in simple phrases is missed. His integrity showed itself in that he had such respect for the office of president he refused to take off his coat at any time in the Oval Office. Contrasted with a man who obviously delighted to take off his pants at any time and his dignity is all the more admirable.

He was not flawless nor were all of his policies perfect but in summary he was a leader among leaders. Many of his detractors had such contempt for his policies they have spent years trying to destroy his legacy. Perhaps in death it will yet enjoy the embellishment deserved.

Just before his TV debate with President Carter, which he won, he asked for a few minutes alone with “the Man upstairs.” His near death experience enriched his personal spiritual life and doubtless helped equip him for his long goodby veiled in Alzheimer’s disease. Now he can spend eternity upstairs with the Lord for whom he had ever increasing love.

These two great feats of emancipation stand as evidences of this truth spoken by President Reagan, “The nature of freedom is that it is fragile. It must be protected, watched over, sometimes fought over.”

Thank you Mr. Reagan for reminding us this generation must fulfill its role as the one you lead and “the Greatest Generation” did theirs. Lest we forget let’s make good use of it.