Thursday, February 7, 2002

Happy Birthday, Gipper

Happy Birthday, Gipper
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
February 7, 2002

It has been a while since my last writing on a political matter, but this transcends politics as we observed the birth date of former president Ronald Reagan yesterday.

On February 6, 1911 Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Illinois. Raised in humble surroundings, Reagan worked hard and after college had jobs as a sportscaster and a career as an actor before turning to the political arena.

Reagan served as Governor of California in the 1960s and was an ardent supporter of another of my political heroes, the late Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater. Reagan made commercials for Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign. The tables were turned in 1980 as Senator Goldwater vigorously endorsed Reagan during his campaign for the White House.

Reagan won that election, defeating president Jimmy Carter handily. On the day Reagan was inaugurated as president in 1981, the hostages returned home from Iran having been held captive for 444 days. Under President Reagan the United States enjoyed a renaissance via a strengthened economy, renewed patriotism and an overall pride in being an American.

President Reagan was known for his quips and good humor. He responded to a question in a debate during his reelection campaign in 1984 against former Minnesota senator and vice president Walter “Fritz” Mondale regarding age, that he would not hold his opponent’s youth and inexperience against him.

Yesterday Ronald Reagan turned 91 years of age, but as we know, suffers from Alzheimer’s. This is a disease that is devastating for a family to witness – powerless to solve or comprehend. While there will be no cure for Ronald Reagan, contributions to a legitimate Alzheimer’s fund or foundation should be made in his name, in his honor.

Say what you will about Nancy Reagan and her alleged antic in the White House or her affinity for things astrological, but she has stood by her husband through all the challenges and ravages of this disease. G-d Bless both Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Happy birthday, Gipper.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer living in Sterling, VA.