October 2008


 

 

What does it mean to be great?

Many men and women have been given this title. Ever since I was a child, I’ve read about the great Americans in storybooks and history texts, seen films made about their lives or visited museums built in their honor. From the patriots who fought for their freedom during the Revolutionary War, to the soldiers, activists, and leaders of our time, the pages of American history are filled with the profiles of truly heroic individuals.

George Washington, first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen. Honest, courageous, a humble leader who turned down a proposal that he be king of the new colonies because he felt that democracy was the best chance for freedom. Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride. Abigail Adams, writing her letters of patriotism and reformation. Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence; Benjamin Franklin, inventor, thinker, revolutionary. Davy Crockett, one of the many mountain men who helped to settle America, unusual in his successful political career and defense of Native American rights. Abraham Lincoln, who upheld the ideal of equality for all mankind and saved our nation from separation. Ulysses S. Grant, the stalwart general who refused to back down and finally helped the North win the Civil War. Theodore Roosevelt with his “maverick” politics, his nephew Franklin Roosevelt who helped guide America through the Great Depression. Alvin C. York, backwoods sharpshooter of World War I, General MacArthur, hero of the Second World War. John F. Kennedy, author of Profiles in Courage and President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, actor, President who ended the Cold War. Everyday men and women who fight for their country, uphold their values, work hard to make America an even better place for their children.

And yet, as I think of these men and women, I realize that they were not without flaws. Many of them had their own personal demons and struggles, such as General Grant, who was an alcoholic and an indisputable failure of a President. These individuals and many, many others are called “great” because they were brave, they had strong beliefs and were willing to fight for them. They were often unpopular. Abraham Lincoln was hated and ridiculed. In the end he was murdered by an assassin’s bullet. And yet today we remember him as one of the greatest leaders our country ever had.

We sometimes judge greatness by how popular a person is. But history has shown this to be an invalid method. The truly great are often those who are courageous enough to be despised because they know that what they are doing is right. Courage is, after all, not the absence of fear, but the understanding that there is something more important than fear.

I am not yet old enough to vote. On November 4th of this year I will only be 17. Yet I can’t help but wonder, are the men and women whose names will appear on ballots across the nation individuals of true greatness? Do they have the character to uphold the laws and freedoms upon which the country was founded? Will they chose to be honest and upright, even as those who lie and cheat prosper?

Some of the greatest leaders our nation ever had were not considered great during their time. It is when we look back through the perspective of history that we can see the contribution of their strength and determination.

Van Gogh’s paintings were not considered great during his lifetime. In fact, the artist sold only one piece during the whole of his career. In despair, he ended his own life. Had he persevered, we might today have more of the masterpieces he created, which are now sold for millions of dollars.

Difficult times are a challenge for all of us. But they are the refining fire of greatness.

Some of the greatest heroes I have ever known in my own life are people who stood firm through difficult times, even though few saw them or appreciated what they were doing. They may never be famous and their stories may never be told in history books, but they are still great.

Men, women, old and young, people of all backgrounds, nationalities and lifestyles can achieve greatness by standing firm through the difficult times of their lives. Rather then backing away from a challenge, greatness comes when we persevere. This is what I have learned from the examples of those I look up to and from the pages of history. But the decision is ultimately ours to make. As John F. Kennedy wrote, “In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience…each man must decide for himself the course he will follow.”

What will you choose?

 

 

It was Widow Pickersgill and her 13 year-old daughter Caroline who made the flag.  They made it on the floor of the town brewery, the only place big enough to spread out the enormous banner.  Four hundred yards of English woolen bunting formed the stripes, the stars, each measuring two feet from point to point, were made of cotton, and the women often stayed up until midnight sewing.

Fort McHenry in the city of Baltimore was expecting an attack from the British fleet any day.  Over its ramparts, the widow’s flag flew, with all of its fifteen stars and shining glory, awaiting the sight of English vessels on the horizen.

In late August, 1814, whisperings filled the city.  It had been heard that enemy soldiers had entered Washington, burning the Capitol and the White House.  Baltimore, everyone thought, would be next.

Dr. William Beanes of Georgetown was imprisoned on the British warship Tonnant.  He was accused of unfriendly acts towards British soldiers, and his townsmen were certain that he would be hung.  In an effort to save him, they enlisted the help of young local lawyer Francis Scott Key, and his friend Colonel John Skinner.  The two men set out in a small, unnamed boat flying the white flag of truce, armed with letters from captured British soldiers who detailed how kind Dr. William Beanes had been to them.  As Francis Key and John Skinner passed Fort McHenry, the widow’s flag, 30-feet by 42-feet, was proudly flying.

Once aboard the Tonnant with the intention of negogiating for Dr. Beanes’s freedom, the Americans overheard too many details about the impending attack on the city of Baltimore, and were suddenly prisoners themselves.  Dr. Beanes was officially released, but all three men were held on the smaller ship Surprise until the attack on Baltimore should be completed.  Days passed, and they grew restless, waiting.

On the dawn of September 13, Francis Scott Key watched the attack on Fort McHenry.  New British bombshells exploded into shrapnel after rocketing for 2 1/2 miles, leaving red streaks in the dark sky.  As these rockets periodically lit up the night, Key and Skinner watched anxiously from the deck of Surprise for the 15-star flag.  Every time, they saw it waving proudly there.  For 25 hours the shelling went on.  Hundreds of foot soldiers and a violent naval attack beat down on Fort McHenry, and still the battle went on.  And then, it stopped.  Everything was deadly silent.  Through the smoke, Francis Scott Key watched, straining his eyes for a glimpse of the American flag.

As the first light of dawn filled the sky, Francis saw the flag.  His heart swelled.  All night long words had been going through his mind, the words of a poem.  Now, using an old envelope from his coat pocket, he scribbled down some of these words.

The British soldiers returned in defeat, and let their prisoners free.  The courage of General Armistead and his men at Fort McHenry had convinced them that the price for defeating Baltimore would be too great.  Four months later, the Treaty of Ghent was signed: the War of 1812 was over.

The three men began the five-mile course upstream to Baltimore, and went to Old Fountain Inn for the night.  Dr. Beanes and Colonel Skinner quickly fell asleep, but Francis Scott Key ordered paper and ink.  He wrote down four verses, words which later became The Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem.

His brother-in-law, Judge J.H. Nicholson, took the poem to the printing office of the Baltimore American.  Fourteen-year-old Samuel Sands was minding the shop in the absence of the men, who were fighting.  He printed the poem under the title The Defense of Fort M’Henry on handbills.  It soon became popular all over America, sung to the tune of To Anacreon in Heaven, a popular song of that era.

Congress named it our national anthem in 1931, but even before that this song helped America to identify proudly with its flag as a symbol of freedom; embodying what is good in our nation.  The original star-spangled banner made by the Widow Pickersgill hangs in the National Musuem of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington.

This song will always be sung in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Original 1814 broadside, “The Defence of Fort M’Henry”

Resources:

  1. A Children’s story about Flag Day -“The Star-Spangled Banner” by Eva March Tappan http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/flag-day/short-stories/the-star-spangled-banner.html
  2. “The Writing of The Star-Spangled Banner” http://www.tc-solutions.com/croom/ssb.html
  3. “Facts about the United States’ National Anthem” http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/os/september11/ssbfacts.html?exp=0
  4. “The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner” by Natalie Miller, Cornerstones of Freedom, Childrens Press, Chicago, (c) 1965
  5. “The Star-Spangled Banner: The Story of America’s National Anthem” http://www.awesomestories.com/history/spangled_banner/spangled_banner_ch1.htm
  6. “The Star-Spangled Banner at American History Musuem” http://americanhistory.si.edu/ssb/

The greatest hero of World War I began life in a two-room log cabin in Pall Mall, Tennessee, the third of eleven children.  He attended school for 9 months and spent the rest of his childhood helping his family scratch out a living in the backwoods and waters of his homeland.

His name was Alvin Cullum York.  Folks around Pall Mall knew him as one of the best marksmen ever to come out of the woods of Tennessee…and also one of Fentress County’s biggest hell-raisers.  Whether this was because his father died in 1911, leaving Alvin with the burden of seven younger siblings and a widowed ma to provide for, or just a plain hereditary devilish streak, folks couldn’t determine.  One thing was certain: Alvin never darkened a church door, but his drinkin’, gamblin’ presence was regular at sleazy border saloons.  And most everyone in Pall Mall agreed that that young Alvin C. York would never amount to anything.

But Alvin’s life turned around one drunken night in 1914 when a saloon disagreement turned violent, and his best friend, Everett Delk, was killed.  It was a cruel wake-up call.  That same year, prompted by the death of his friend, Alvin attended a revival hosted by H.H. Russell of the Church of Christ in Christian Union.  Finally, he realized that it was time to change his ways.  Committing his heart and life to God, Alvin was a changed man.  He became a song leader and Sunday School teacher at the local Church of Christ in Christian Union, and there met a young woman named Gracie Williams.

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany and every state, city and town in America was effected by the draft.  York received his notice six months before his 30th birthday.

The struggle that raged inside him was between his faith and that draft notice.  The Bible he had learned to love forbade fighting, did it not?  “My Kingdom is not of this world,” Jesus said, “If it were of this world, my servants would fight.”  It was wrong to kill, to murder, and that was exactly what war was.  It was murder, on a massive scale.  Alvin York knew that the ability he had with a gun was a rare thing, but he had given up fighting.  He applied for exemption from the draft as a conscientious objector.  His request was not approved, either at the local or state level, and York was forced to go to war. 

Having never traversed more than fifty miles from his home or shot with any gun besides an old-fashioned muzzleloading rifle, York was in for a huge learning curve.

At training camp, Alvin’s commanding officers were amazed at his ability with a gun, watching York shoot with perfect accuracy at targets 200, 300 and 500 yards away.  But when asked to practice shooting at human-shaped targets, he said, “Sir, I am doing wrong. Practicing to kill people is against my religion.”

Weeks passed, and as Alvin listened to the counsel of two of his commanders, Major G. Edward Buxton and Captain Edward Danforth, he finally began to understand that God asks us not only to serve Him spiritually but to submit to our government authorities, and to protect the innocent.  A member of the United States Army, Company G, 328th Infantry Regiment, 82nd Infantry Division, Corporal Alvin C. York was shipped overseas.  It was on October 8, 1918, at the battle of the Argonne Forest, that York earned himself fame as America’s greatest hero during the First World War.

On that day York and sixteen other men, under command of Sergeant Bernard Early, were commissioned to secure Germany’s Decauville rail-line.  York recalled,

“The Germans got us, and they got us right smart. They just stopped us dead in our tracks. Their machine guns were up there on the heights overlooking us and well hidden, and we couldn’t tell for certain where the terrible heavy fire was coming from… And I’m telling you they were shooting straight. Our boys just went down like the long grass before the mowing machine at home. Our attack just faded out… And there we were, lying down, about halfway across [the valley] and those German machine guns and big shells getting us hard.”

The group of eighteen men went behind enemy lines with the mission of taking out this German machine gun nest.  As Sergeant Early captured a large group of German soldiers, enemy fire opened on the Americans from a hill overlooking them.  York was commanded to silence the machine guns.

“[T]hose machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful. And the Germans were yelling orders. You never heard such a racket in all of your life. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush… As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. There were over thirty of them in continuous action, and all I could do was touch the Germans off just as fast as I could. I was sharp shooting… All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.”

When the smoke had cleared, 9 Americans had captured 132 German soldiers.  25 Germans were dead.  35 machine guns were silenced.  York was awarded the French Medaille Militaire and Coix de Guerre, the Itailian Groce de Guerra, and the American Medal of Honor.  His homeland was abuzz with the excitement of York’s exploits, and when the newly-appointed Sergeant arrived in New York City in 1919 he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. 

His faith had seen him through, his commitment to God’s Word and his search for truth had not been in vain.  He knew that he owed everything to God.  “A higher power than man power guided and watched over me and told me what to do,” he told his commander General Duncan in 1919.

Marshall Ferdinand Foch told York that, “What you did was the greatest thing accomplished by any private soldier of all the armies of Europe.”

Immediately after returning home, Hollywood, Broadway and numerous advertisement firms were eager to make a fortune from York’s newfound fame.  But rather than subscribing to the get-rich-quick offers surrounding him, Alvin returned home to Tennessee, his family, and Gracie, as soon as he could.  “This uniform ain’t for sale,” he said simply.

Alvin wanted to use his celebrity for good, and his dream was to provide education for the mountain children of Tennessee.  On June 7, 1919, he married his sweetheart, Gracie Williams.  The couple went on to have 7 children.  York founded the Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute in Jamestown, Tennessee.  The Institute stands today as a nationally recognized high school with the highest graduation percentage in the state.  York also started a Bible School with proceeds from the Hollywood film Sergeant York, made about his life in 1941 and featuring Gary Cooper’s Academy Award-winning performance as Alvin.

Alvin York passed away on September 2, 1964, and was buried with military honors in the Pall Mall cemetary.  He told interviewers that he wanted to be remembered for his work in promoting public education to the underprivileged children in his community.  This man, who had received less than a year of formal schooling as a child, was able to see each of his seven children graduate with high school diplomas from the school he started.  One even went on to graduate college.

The exploits of Sergeant Alvin C. York, humble mountain sharpshooter and committed Christian, will endure as long as America’s stories are told.  His acts of bravery in the Argonne Forest are legendary, but even more impressive are the quieter acts of a courageous heart which York displayed.  He was a man brave enough to listen to his conscience, brave enough to consider the counsel of others, brave enough to trust, first and foremost, in the word of God.  This is true heroism.

Resources:

  1. “The Legends and Traditions of the Great War: Sergeant Alvin York” http://www.worldwar1.com/heritage/sgtayork.htm
  2. Trenches on the Web -“Bio: Sergeant Alvin C. York” http://www.worldwar1.com/biocyrk.htm

One of the most colorful and charming First Ladies in America’s history, Dolley Madison was born to a Quaker family from Virginia in 1768, as one of eight children.  She married a Quaker lawyer named named John Todd , Jr. in 1790.  Three years later he and their newborn child William Temple died of yellow fever, leaving Dolley with their remaining young son, John Payne.

Only 25 years old, Dolley was alone in Philadelphia.  But her vivacious personality and warm heart soon made her popular.  In 1794, a mutual friend named Aaron Burr introduced the young widow to a 43 year-old bachelor named John Madison.  Although he was 17 years her senior, the two were considered by friends to be an ideal match, especially considering John’s shyness in public arenas and Dolley’s abilities as hostess.  She found him to be delightful and clever.  John Madison was already making waves as a leader of the new Republican Party, a very intelligent leader who believed strongly in religious freedom and had fought to add the first ten amendments to the Constitution (which are now called the Bill of Rights).  Although he stood at only five and a half feet tall, he held great stature in the eyes of his young nation as the “Father of the Constitution” (a title he strongly protested).

Dolley Todd and James Madison had a short courtship of about four months.  They were married on September 14th of 1794, no doubt to the relief of Dolley’s cousin, Catherine Cole, who had written her in June that John “thinks so much of you in the day that he has Lost his Tongue, at Night he Dreams of you & Starts in his Sleep a Calling on you…”.  The newlyweds retired to Monpelier, John’s childhood home in Virginia, where they lived until 1801.  In that year, John was called to Washington, D.C. to be President Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of State.

Dolley, discarding the rigid habits of her childhood religion, dressed stylishly and elaborately, and soon become the social hub of Washington.  During their first 8 years in the city, Dolley often acted as Jefferson’s hostess, since the President was a widower.  The city was a raw and untamed town during this time, with a residency of only about three or four thousand.  Traditional social life was impossible, but Dolley seemed determined to help make the capital of American politics into something the nation could be proud of through social events in which the old ways of class and protocol were very often forgotten.

In 1809 John Madison was elected the 4th President of the United States, and Dolley became First Lady.  She was now the toast of Washington, and indeed, the most important woman in social America at that time.  In fact, Madison’s Presidential opponent, Charles Pinckney, said that he was “beaten by Mr. and Mrs. Madison”.  He added, “I might have had a better chance had I faced Mr. Madison alone.” 

Dolley furnished and decorated the White House as tastefully as she could, striking a balance between understated simplicity and the ornate style popular in that era.  She wanted the White House to be a place for all kinds of people.  She held a Wednesday night “salon” open to the general public, and hosted state events with impeccable etiquette.  Washington social chronicler Margaret Bayard Smith wrote that “she looked a Queen…It would be absolutely impossible for any one to behave with more perfect propriety than she did”.  Gracious, tactful, elegant and kind to everyone, Dolley is still remembered as the original First Lady, setting a precedent for the wives of American presidents to follow.  She always remembered names and had a gift for making people of all types and backgrounds feel welcome.  That she was far more than just a social butterfly was proven during the War of 1812, when Dolley became a national heroine for her bravery and strength, sleeping with a sabre by her bedside during the dangerous wartime.  Even when British troops captured Washington in 1814, Dolley kept levelheaded and managed to save many vital government papers, White House treasures, and an important portrait of George Washington from the White House before invading troops set it on fire.  The President was absent at the time, reviewing the American forces.  Dolley left behind her own possessions to preserve items important to her country, writing, “I am accordingly ready; I have pressed as many Cabinet papers into trunks as to fill one carriage; our private property must be sacrificed, as it is impossible to procure wagons for its transportation.”

Even after Madison’s term ended in 1817, Dolley remained one of the most important and beloved persons in America.  The couple retired to Montpelier.  Throughout the years, Dolley remained first and foremost supportive of her husband.  She was young, beautiful, and outgoing, he was small, sickly, shy, and reserved.  Many thought them an odd match, but Dolley was devoted to him and John adored his wife.  As Dolley once said, “our hearts understand each other.”

Dolley Madison died in 1849 and was buried next to her husband on the Montpelier estate.  A brilliant hostess, intelligent leader and loyal First lady, Dolley was the first President’s wife to entertain in Washington D.C. and remains a beloved name in American history.  She will always be remembered as simply Dolley: wartime heroine, Washington’s favorite lady, and American.  As Henry Clay once said, “everyone loves Mrs. Madison.”

Resources:

  1. “Dolly Madison Quotes” http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/d/dolley_madison.html
  2. “Dolley Madison” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolley_Madison
  3. “The Dolley Madison Project” http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/madison/
  4. “Dolley Payne Todd Madison” http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/dm4.html
  5. “Dolley Madison: Biography” http://www.answers.com/topic/dolley-madison

“If God would have taken me that day, it’s my time to go. I’m not afraid to die. That’s (why) God put us here to help our fellow man.”

James Horton, one of four men who rescued school children from a burning bus in Marion County, Florida.

Read the story here.

Ronald Wilson Reagan was the fortieth President of the United States of America.  He believed in his country and in its people, and inspired a nation with his vision of confidence and hope for the future.  His was an ideal of “peace through strength” during a turbulent time in world history, believing that “no arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”  He was born in 1911 in Tampico, Illinois and died in 2004, a victim of a 10-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.  He left behind his wife, Nancy, to whom he had been lovingly married for 52 years, and three children (one adopted during a previous marriage to actress Jane Wyman).  Throughout a lifetime of struggles against Communism, the Cold War, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, divorce, the death of two children, an assasin’s attempt on his life, and other tragedies, Ronald Reagan remained strong and kept a sense of humor that touched a hurting and confused nation at its deepest level.

Reagan attended high school in Dixon, Illinois, and went on to work his way through Eureka College, where he played football and acted in school plays in between his studies of sociology and economics.  After graduation, he worked as a radio sports announcer until 1937, when he won a contract as a film star in Hollywood, California (the same year he joined the Army Reserves).  Reagan went on to act in 53 films, and became president of the Screen Actors Guild.  While serving in this capacity, arguments over Communism caused Reagan to change his political position from liberal to conservative.  He soon became enthusiastically involved in his new party, working as a television host and a spokesman for conservatism.  He won the Governorship of California in 1966 by a margin of over a million votes, and his term was renewed in 1970.

In 1976 Reagan fought for the Republican Presidential nomination against Gerald Ford, but lost the bid by a narrow margin.  Ford went on to lose the election against Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan was the Republican Party’s nominee, and Reagan selected former Texas Congressman and U.N. Ambassador George H.W. Bush as his running mate.  He took the election and won a re-election in 1984; this time receiving all the electoral votes but those in Minnesota and Washington, D.C.  At almost 70 years of age, he was the oldest man yet to be elected President.

69 days into his first term, Reagan was shot by a crazed young man named John Hinckley Jr.  Reagan wrote later that, as he lay in the hospital and watched Jim Brady, one of the men who had been shot trying to protect him, being wheeled past his room in a coma, he said a prayer for him, but thought, “I didn’t feel I could ask God’s help to heal Jim, the others, and myself, and at the same time feel hatred for the man who had shot us, so I silently asked God to help him deal with whatever demons had led him to shoot us.”

Ronald Reagan believed in forgiveness, faith, strength and perserverance in pain.  He also lived these things.  He believed in “better tomorrows”.  He believed in “empathy”; in “developing a knack for putting yourself in someone else’s shoes”.  He believed that “a people free to choose will always choose peace”, that “democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.”  Ronald Reagan trusted in the importance of small-town America and the traditional family, stating that “all great change in America begins at the dinner table”; and in the power of small businesses (“entrepreneurs and their small enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States”). That “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  He wanted to be able to “…be sure that those who come after will say of us…that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.”  He kept to his famous philosophy of “peace through strength”, exhorting his countrymen to fight oppresors and tyrants (“when you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”).  He fought drug addiction (“Let us not forget who we are. Drug abuse is a repudiation of everything America is.”).  He was adamantly opposed to racism and discrimination, saying, “The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past. For example, the long struggle of minority citizens for equal rights, once a source of disunity and civil war, is now a point of pride for all Americans. We must never go back. There is no room for racism, anti-Semitism, or other forms of ethnic and racial hatred in this country.”  He was also a strong, born-again Christian, believing that “without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure” and “within the covers of the Bible are all the answers for all the problems men face.”

His marriage to Nancy was one of the most important parts of his life.  He loved her with a deep and lasting love that a nation whose view of marriage had been rocked noticed.  And she was devoted to him, heart and soul.  He saw her as a gift from God, writing in his diary, “I pray I’ll never face a day when she isn’t there[,] of all the ways God had blessed me, giving her to me was the greatest – beyond anything I can ever hope to deserve.”  Later, he wrote, “…it is almost impossible for me to express fully how deeply I love Nancy and how much she has filled my life.  From the start, our marriage was like an adolescent’s dream of what a marriage should be. It was rich and full from the beginning, and it has gotten more so with each passing day. Nancy moved into my heart and replaced an emptiness that I’d been trying to ignore for a long time. Coming home to her is like coming out of the cold into a warm, firelit room. I miss her if she just steps out of the room.”

Ronald Reagan was a high successful President and, most importantly, a truly patriotic American citizen.  He loved his God, his family, his country, his brothers and sisters of America.  And up until the end of his life, these things were his driving passions.  In November of 1994, Ronald Reagan penned a hand-written letter to America, announcing his recent diagnosis.

“I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease… At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done… I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead. Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.”

On June 5, 2004, at the age of 93, Ronald Reagan passed away.  But the things he lived for will remain, and he will always be remembered as a truly great American.

Resources:

  1. “Ronald Wilson Reagan” http://www.ronaldreagan.com/
  2. “Assasination Attempt” http://www.ronaldreagan.com/march30.html
  3. “Ronald Reagan…In Hollywood” http://www.ronaldreagan.com/march30.html
  4. “Biography of President Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004” http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/rr40.html
  5. “Racism Quotes and Quotations” http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/racism/