Ronald Reagan was truly a giant among presidents

  • Mike Reagan
  • Tuesday, June 8, 2004 9:00pm
  • Opinion

On Saturday afternoon, after what Nancy called “the long goodbye,” my father went home.

My first reaction was to recall Edwin Stanton’s words when Abraham Lincoln breathed his last: “Now he belongs to the ages.”

That can only be said about giants, and my father was a giant – he towered above his contemporaries and the great majority of the world’s most famous political figures, past and present.

Nowadays much is said about the legacies American presidents leave behind, and only a tiny handful of presidents of the United States left behind them legacies as abundant as that which my dad left behind.

When he came into office the nation was nearly an economic basket case. The morale of the American people was at rock bottom – we had lost that confidence in ourselves that had created the American colossus, and our leaders had surrendered to the idea that the Cold War would be a permanent fixture on the world scene.

When he left office after eight years, the economy was booming, we had recaptured the can-do spirit that had motivated Americans for generations, and the Soviet Union was approaching collapse and with it the Cold War.

His legacy included far more than his accomplishments in statecraft. His optimism was contagious, he showed us the shining city on the hill, and taught us that we could reach it.

Throughout it all he never lost his sense of humility, his innate decency, his love of country, and his love of the American people. He was a gentleman to the tips of his fingers in an age of incivility.

In all my life with him I never saw him do anything to hurt another person. He would have rather cut off his hands than offend a fellow human being.

Above all, my father lived as close to his maker as it is possible for a mortal to be. Every morning he put himself in God’s hands, accepting whatever happened as the will of the Lord with absolute confidence that he would receive whatever he needed to cope with whatever the Lord put in front of him.

As I joined my family at the first of the memorial services, I felt grief at his passing. But, as I stood over the casket I was comforted in knowing that with all of the gifts that my father had given to the nation that the greatest gift he had given to me was knowing that at one o’clock Saturday afternoon when my father closed his eyes for the last time he went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. A finer gift cannot be given to a son.

Thank you Dad, I love you.

The e-mail address for Mike Reagan, the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, is mereagan@hotmail.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, Feb. 27

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015 file photo, a tanker airplane drops fire retardant on a wildfire burning near Twisp, Wash. Three firefighters were killed battling the blaze. The story was a top Washington state news item in 2015. Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz has proposed a plan to strengthen the ways that Washington can prevent and respond to wildfires. Franz released the 10-year plan last week as part of her $55 million budget request to the Legislature to improve the state's firefighting abilities (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: Wildfire threat calls for restoring full funding

Lawmakers should restore funding for fighting wildfires and call on one furry firefighter in particular.

Comment: U.S. Supreme Court opened door for Alabama IVF ruling

By reversing Roe v. Wade, the court has invited a flood of laws and lawsuits that will limit liberty.

Comment: Focus aid on keeping youths in stable housing

A new program is lowering rental costs for families to encourage them to keep young adults housed.

Comment: Presidential primary launches state’s election season

With ballots in the mail, here’s what to know and how to prepare for making your choice for U.S. president.

Jaime Benedict, who works as a substitute teacher, waves to drivers on the corner of Mukilteo Speedway and Harbor Pointe Boulevard while holding a sign in support of the $240 million capital bond proposal for Mukilteo School District on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020 in Mukilteo, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Bar set unfairly high for passage of school bonds

Requiring 60 percent approval denies too many students the schools and facilities they deserve.

A leasing sign in visible outside of A’cappella Apartment Homes on Wednesday, March 1, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Editorial: Cap on rent can keep more people in their homes

The legislation balances affordability with the need to encourage growth in the stock of housing.

Election signs line a section of Mukilteo Blvd. in Everett. (Sue Misao / Everett Herald)
Editorial: Switch of local elections may be premature

Adding local elections to even-year ballots could boost participation but election officials have concerns.

Comment: Federal cuts to wildfire crews may hit at worst time

Conditions may increase the threat of wildfires just as the U.S. Forest Service is bracing for budget cuts.

Comment: Founders empowered Congree to support accurate news

The Post Office Act of 1790’s intent was to spread reliable information. The same goes for the media of the day.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, Feb. 26

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Comment: Charity scandal shows Providence ignoring its mission

Ordered to forgive $157 million it charged the poor, the hospital system needs better oversight of officials.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.