In memory of President Reagan

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by armstrong80, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. armstrong80

    armstrong80 Guest

    By: Ryan Armstrong

    What is a hero?
    Is it a man?
    Is it a woman?
    Are there any left in this great land?

    I can remember one,
    When I was young.
    He was on television,
    And wasn’t unsung.

    He was a great actor,
    In many movies he starred.
    He was known as the gipper,
    In homes near and far.

    He was later a governor,
    During turbulent times.
    Yet he cleaned up the universities,
    He made students walk the line.

    Then he ran for President,
    Third time’s the charm.
    Then he cleaned up with 489,
    And sent President Carter back to the farm.

    He was struck in the ribs,
    In 1981,
    By a bullet from,
    A madman’s gun.

    He faced off with evil,
    He didn’t back off,
    He said, “Tear down this wall!”
    To a man named Gorbachev.

    He has ended his journey,
    To the sunset of life,
    But there is a dawn ahead,
    For the country for which he dedicated his life.

    In memory of President Ronald Wilson Reagan
  2. Annie

    Annie Diamond Member

    Nov 22, 2003
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    Ronald Reagan: My hero, and an eternal light for the world
    By Arnold Schwarzenegger

    For several days, we have been hearing what Ronald Reagan meant to the world.

    We all have such vivid memories of him, because he was a man of clarity -- in his heart, in his faith, in his convictions and in his actions. His was a strong, unwavering flame that burned brightly. That is why, although we have not seen him in 10 years, he appears to us so clearly today.

    Reagan was a hero to me. I became a citizen of the United States when he was president, and he is the first president I voted for as an American citizen. He inspired me and made me even prouder to be a new American.

    He used to talk about the letter he received from a man who said, ''You can go and live in Turkey, but you can't become Turkish. You can go and live in Japan, but you can't become Japanese. You can go to live in Germany or France, but you can't become German or French.'' But the man said that anyone from any corner of the world could come to America and become an American.

    When I heard President Reagan tell that story, I said to myself, ''Arnold, you Austrian immigrant, he is talking to you. He is saying that you will fit in here. You will be a real American, able to follow your dreams.''

    He represented America

    President Reagan symbolized to me what America represented -- hope, opportunity, freedom. He made us remember that the United States stood for something great and noble. Once again, it was alright to stand tall and believe in this country, and in ourselves.

    He made each of us, no matter our station in life, feel part of something larger and grander. He saw America as an ''empire of ideals,'' and he advanced those ideals to the world.

    Just Monday, I spoke with some of my friends in Austria and Germany. They told me that every single newspaper, every television station, every radio program around the clock is reporting on the life and death of Ronald Reagan. The reports are not just about the passing of an American president, but intimate stories that capture the essence of the person and the persona -- as if he were one of their own.

    Why are people everywhere so deeply and personally affected by Ronald Reagan's legacy? Because his leadership profoundly influenced not only America, but also the world. He embodied the very things that all people desire, the same things that draw immigrants like myself to the United States: an unfailing optimism, a devotion to freedom and a belief in the goodness of humankind.

    He is a role model for any of us who have been granted the public trust as an elected leader. He led a life of public service with common sense and uncommon purpose. And he taught me something very special about this country: That here, the greatest power is not derived from privilege; it is derived from the people.

    President Reagan's unshakable faith in the people reminds us that despite the challenges we face, by the power of our collective resolve, we are a mighty force for goodness and progress.

    Words of action

    He said, ''To those who are faint-hearted and unsure, I have this message: If you are afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.''

    These are words of action, fitting for a nation whose best days are always ahead. Every generation can nourish the American experience -- with more opportunity, stronger security, greater equality, new discoveries.

    Ronald Reagan is gone, but his spirit remains with us in all of its vigor and charm. We see the twinkle in his eye, the winning smile on his face, and we hear his message of optimism, courage and strength.

    He once said, ''In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal. America's is.'' We are thankful for the life of Ronald Reagan, and blessed that his own light is eternal.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger is the governor of California.
  3. Annie

    Annie Diamond Member

    Nov 22, 2003
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    by Ralph Peters, a contributor to the War College Quarterly:



    June 9, 2004 -- IN 1976, I joined the U.S. Army as a private. Our military was broken. My first unit, in Germany, had trucks built in the 1940s, inadequate winter clothing, inept medical care and an atmosphere of pessimism. We were not "combat ready."
    Crippled by Vietnam, the non-commissioned officer corps had hit bottom — despite a cadre of stalwarts who would not give up. Officers ranged from the shoulder-shruggers to the grimly determined. The barracks were pits. Soldiers made their own survival rules — for example, hashish was OK, but no junkies were allowed on our barracks floor.

    Then there were the drunks. Of all ranks. And the overweight and out of shape. As well as good men simply worn out by a long, bitter war.

    Had "the balloon gone up," our Infantry would have entered battle in death-trap M113s that were no match for Soviet infantry combat vehicles. Our tanks couldn't rival the firepower of the new Russian models. Our radios were unreliable and the antique encryption devices rarely worked.

    Our war games weren't about winning but about losing as slowly as possible. We always had to resort to nukes in the end.

    Our nation had ended the draft and transitioned to an all-volunteer military. But the pay remained at draftee levels. As a sergeant living in an unheated attic apartment, I had no phone and no car.

    Once, while we were out on maneuvers, President Carter's secretary of the Army came to visit. He flew in by helicopter, pretended to eat our field rations, spoke to no enlisted troops or junior officers and left. We didn't exactly feel valued.

    Then came Ronald Reagan.

    Yes, he raised Defense budgets dramatically. And the money mattered. But the increased funding and higher pay wouldn't have made a decisive difference without the sense that we had a real leader in the White House again. The man in the Oval Office genuinely admired the men and women who served. When he saluted his Marine guards, he meant it. The troops could tell.

    I attended Officer Candidate School in Georgia during the 1980 presidential election. When I returned to Germany in late 1981, the change in the quality and morale of the "dirty boots" Army was already unmistakable. Even before the new equipment began arriving, the Army was regaining its fighting spirit.

    We still had some bad apples — but fewer with every infusion of new, better-educated recruits. Officers were held to ever-higher standards. The young sergeants coming up had an energy and optimism that had been missing for years, while the senior NCOs who lasted were the toughest and best of them all. And our new generals, men who had commanded battalions and brigades in Vietnam, had learned the right lessons.

    New gear began to arrive. Training budgets increased. We even replaced our janitor-style uniforms with camouflage fatigues. We looked like soldiers again.

    We had a president who cared about us, a man who was proud of us and proud of the country we were pledged to defend. He even understood the power of uniforms and would not enter the Oval Office himself unless wearing a tie.

    President Reagan made mistakes. He was human. The intervention in Lebanon ended badly with our precipitous withdrawal after the Marine-barracks bombing. That decision sent a message to the nascent forces of terror that we had no stomach left for a serious fight. The Iran-Contra scandal, although not the debacle the president's detractors tried to make it, was an example of thinking tactically, not strategically. Too much money went into gold-plated weapons systems that never earned their keep.

    Yet these were minor matters compared to the fact that this man — this single, remarkable visionary — brought us two world-changing insights: America's greatness remained undiminished, and the Cold War wasn't eternal.

    Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviet Union. After all the academic arguments about the USSR's internal weakness and the inevitability of its ultimate failure, the truth is that none of those who speak so knowingly now had the strategic insight of an aging former actor when it mattered.

    Which brings me to my confession. Having grown up in the late '60s and early '70s, I carried some of my generation's prejudices along with me into the Army. While I realized that Jimmy Carter had been an inept president (if a good man), I didn't support Ronald Reagan in 1980. I believed that Carter remained the safer of two mediocrities. I bought into the bigotry of those who mocked Reagan as lacking the intelligence to be president.

    And it's doubtless true that he didn't possess the highest IQ ever to enter the White House. That goes directly to what Reagan taught me: As we recently saw with another president, the greatest intelligence isn't a substitute for vision, courage and leadership. Above all, a president needs good instincts, guts and sound values. The world's overstocked with brilliant people who never get anything done.

    Reagan got things done.

    He gave us the military that serves the cause of freedom so well today. He gave us back our pride. And he gave us back our country.

    Like Abraham Lincoln, another self-made mid-Westerner mocked by the elites at home and abroad, Reagan's greatness transcended conventional measure. Despite the current outpouring of love and admiration, we have not yet lived long enough to comprehend his full achievement. He was the first among Americans of our time.

    If that wasn't clear from the campus, it was obvious to those of us in the mud on the frontiers of freedom.

    Ralph Peters is the author of "Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace."


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