Remembrances of a Giant Among Men


When my mother shook me awake, to not only let me know it was time for school, but to announce that Jimmy Carter had just been elected President of the United States, even at 15 years of age, I knew this was not good news for America.  It wasn’t that I was waiting breathlessly for Gerald Ford, who was?  But what captured my 15 year old emerging political and patriotic heart during the Republican primary was Ronald Reagan.

There are giants among men in all of our lives, ones who seem to rise above others and touch the heavens.  Mortal they may be, but they transcend the times and history and gain an immortality.  For me, Ronald Reagan forever will stand taller then the rest of us.

I was only 17 when I enlisted in the Air Force and after training was shipped to a tour in West Germany.  What a different world it was back in 1979 and 1980.  There was a cartoon that ran in US News & World Report, of two soldiers dressed in rags, trying to push a 18th century cannon up a hill in the dead of winter. One observer asked another “is that a movie set for Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow.”  And the other observer says, “no, it is NATO on maneuvers.”  The truth was not far off.  There were military families on food stamps, 5 men to 2 men dorms, mechanics working on trucks outside in the dead of winter due to lack of enclosed garages.  Vietnam had just ended a few years before, Americans were being held hostage in Tehran, the Soviets seemed to be on the march and morale was low, in society at large, and in the military in particular.

Then the world changed, and oh so dramatically.  On November 4th, 1980 a new man rode in on a white horse, my hero of a few years before was now President.  It might sound like an exaggeration, but the mood within the ranks of the military changed with the speed of light.  We knew that America had been saved.  I can’t list all that was to change; we all know the story that unfolded over the next 8 years and how this man forever changed the world.  For us in the military, it might be selfish to say that we loved Reagan when in the first days of his Presidency he instituted a significant pay raise for all the men and woman in uniform.  But it was more than a pay raise, a message was being sent.  That money was put into not just planes, tanks, and ships, but also in military housing, base facilities, and yes, even garages for our mechanics.  Above all else, what Ronald Reagan brought to all of us in uniform was a strong esprit de corps that had waned in the preceding years.  He made us all proud to be Americans again and for one 18 year old, who in voting for the very first time was able to punch the ticket for Ronald Reagan, he became a larger than life hero.  He became our generation’s George Washington.

On the 100th celebration of his birth, we all celebrate a great man, a great President and an example of what the times can bring out this great country and the great people of America.  We can reach back and touch the examples of greatness and leadership and when we think the times are dark and that there won’t be another Washington, Lincoln or Reagan, one appears.  Happy Birthday and thank you President Reagan!

  • Bear from Russia

    Reagan is a great president? Don't make me laugh. Actualy Reagan was a pathetic president. He was just an actor a puppet but not a leader. He was smiling and talking like a super hero from a cheap cartoon but his legasy is sad. His Reaganomic brought us all to crysis of 2008. After 50-70 years you americans will hate Reagan as we in Russia hate Lenin now. Do not be stupid and do not let mass media fool you. Think about the roots of the situation you have now. http://www.consortiumnews.com/2011/012911.html

    • USMCSniper

      Hey Russian mudak. You probably think your Uncle Joesph was a really good guy because he built a railway with slave labor and practiced population control. I see your hero Comrade Obama has his "5 year" plan in place for all of us. The Marxist chimpout in the Whitehouse must have learned the 5 year planning stuff from Uncle Joesph, Nikita, and Leonnid and Chairman Mao.

      • Bear from Russia

        By using abusive words you only show me and other that you are a stupid and not well educated kid. Your hero Reagan started America's travel to live in a great debt. It is he, not Obama or Clinton or Bush leaded US to the current situaton. His policy had good effect for a short period of time but then it brings US to crysis of 2008 and the beginning of the end of America's domination.

        • USMCSniper

          You spelling not so good in English, comrade mudak. What is "crysis"?

          IT IS CRISIS : the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever; especially : a sudden turn for the better (as sudden abatement in severity of symptoms or abrupt drop in temperature)—compare lysis 1
          2: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function <tabetic crisis> <cardiac crisis>
          3: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person's life
          4: a psychological or social condition characterized by unusual instability caused by excessive stress and either endangering or felt to endanger the continuity of an individual or group; especially : such a social condition requiring the transformation of cultural patterns and values.

          THE PLURAL IS CRISES

          • Bear from Russia

            Do you speak Russian or any other foreign language?

          • USMCSniper

            Yes, I speak fluently, read, and write the Japanese language (strong on Hiragana and Katakana, but not all 1900 Kanji ) as I was formally trained and turored. This is Romanji….. Watkashi wa, Nihongo ga, amari muziokasiko nai desu kedo; chukugo ga totemo musikazi desu nee. wakaramus ka? Here are some of you comrades in DC singing! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkw7n9Qagu8&fe

          • Bear from Russia

            I doubt you are telling the truth. You are arrogant and ignorant fanatic totaly frightened by the ghosts of communism. Perhaps you are a very old man but it doesn't matter because you allow yourself to abuse me with dirty words only because my point of view is different from yours. You call me the communist only because I am Russian. You are a weak and pathetic person.

          • USMCSniper

            Actually you are in error. I played 2 years of pro-football in the CFL when I was younger, was a marine fireteam leader in South Vietnam in 65 and 66, have a BS, MS, and PhD in Applied Physics, was a Chief Engineer/Scientist on many major NASA and DoD progams that included the Hubble Space Telescope, The Chandra Telescope, the SpaceStation, the F-16, the F,-22 and the C-120J avionics systems, while at the same time being an adjunct professor of physics teach honors courses in Physics to students of science and engineering. I also raised two children and sent them through college and gradute school.

            I suggest you should start you intellectual recovery by reading Ayn Rand's book "Philosophy Who Needs It" so you can apply objective logic and objective epistemological criteria to determine truth rather than than dialectical nonsense logic that somehow A and non A are "somehow" resolved in the synthesis of opposites,

          • Bear from Russia

            Very strange. In your posts you speak like a 15 years old teenager. Maybe you were captured in Vietnam and those communist rebels destroyed your brain as they did with Maccein? And now you continue your struggle agains world communism despite USSR collapsed 20 years ago? Anyway I have no reason to believe you. I doubt you know much about Physics. People of sciense are usually clever and they know what is a polite dispute. You don't.

          • USMCSniper

            Putin and his former KGB gangsters still run Russia mubak. Get in their way and see how long you last. I don't give a damn whether you believe me or not. By the way, have you decided to start you intellectual recovery by reading Ayn Rand's book "Philosophy Who Needs It" As for a pussified polite dispute, let's have an outright sceeching argument, it is much more stimulating. Never settle anything with words you can settle more effectively with a flamethrower.

    • Franklin Thompson

      The prosperity of the Reagan years centered around the people of the U.S. and what could they do to better their lot. His idea of government [n]ot being the center of the equation created an environment that was conducive to citizen wealth creation and not a 'printed money', borrow the rest and give it away obama economy

  • Bear from Russia

    And I've heard USSR collapsed becouse of the curse of Marsians… You overestimate the role of USA in the fate of USSR. The Collapse of Soviet Union was inevitable since Stalin destroyed our Agricultural industry with collectivization. On the one hand under Stalin's rule USSR made a nuclear bomb, started space program and became an industrial superpower but on the other hand it became a country that wasn't able to provide it's own population with food. This is the main reason why USSR collapsed, people always want to eat. Also sciense progress in information and such simple things as Japan video players, and Beatles music influenced USSR's people much greater than all american presidents together.
    So your Reagan is simular to Stalin is some way. In a short time he looks like a great leader who "destroyed" the "Empire of evil" and "saved" the economy, but in a long time he is the reason of your's countryes troubles. His way of dealing with econimic troubles was a mistake and now you are paying for it.

    • Donla

      Sorry, but the Polish people rejected soviet control, Leck Walesa, JPII, Maggie Thatcher and Ron Reagan broke your wall and your spirit. Any system that needs to machine gun little children trying to escape it is doomed to fail – the beatles changed the culture but not the soul of communism which still lurks throughout the world in the green movement. Your Gorbachove immediately (defending communism) became president of Green Cross of the World to be joined by the likes of the UN and our left -Al Gore etc.

      • Bear from Russia

        OK, you want to talk about Poland? Commustic government in Poland failed becouse USSR stoped it's help with meat, grain and money to Poland. The world is not simple, it is very complicated. Or you really think that Reagan changed the world with words and imagination? How do you imagine this?

        Reagan: I am Ronald Reagan! The Mighty hero of light! I will bring light of democracy to the world.

        Gorbachev: Oh no, it is Mighty Reagan and he looks angry! We must destroy UUSR ASAP or he will torture us with his movies!

        Lech Walensa: Reagan became the president of USA, finally. Polish people are his great fans and now they will overthrow the Tirany of the soviets!!!

        There is a very good book of Egor Gaydar – the former Russian minister of Economy in the beggining of 90th. "The death of the Empire". It contains a very fair and complex analysys of the Soviet economy model and the reasons of USSR collaps.

        • Donla

          Sorry again, but relatives from Poland came here (Communism was foolish enough to visit and see real freedom in America) and they saw us buying Polish hams in magnificent supermarkets, which they couldn't buy – only export or else, and they saw we spoke against our government out loud, and they described the Russian/Polish puppet agreement perfectly in a joke – "What is a Polish cow? It is one that feeds on Polish soil but is milked in Russia." The Poles never lost their faith – it did communism in. Vodka only prolonged its death.

          • Bear from Russia

            So you think that Poland overthrowed communism becouse of several hundred polish citizens that traveled to USA and saw America's life. I see:)

          • Donla

            Maybe you missed those millions who flocked to JPII's coming to Poland in support of his captive people?

          • USMCSniper

            Here is Bear Fron Russia's comrades singing in Washington DC. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkw7n9Qagu8&fe

  • JamesJ

    Poor Bear, haters gotta hate

  • Donla

    Carter got in because of Nixon's games -Reagan got in because of Carter's ineptness, Obama got in because Bush failed to even explain his message, Obama is already back in deceptive campaign mode to usher in Godless socialism Act II – though one noisy lady heckling from Alaska might spoil his show.

  • http://rabidsanity.blogspot.com/ Steve in MT

    Bear from Russia, you are partially correct, and mostly wrong. The reason that the Soviet system collapsed more than anything else, was the reinvigorization of the West, as led by Reagan and Thatcher. What was the dialectic of the time? Oh, that's right. the West would collapse of its own internal contradictions. The good news for us was that the Soviets were less likely to strike out for the English Channel because of their delusions. And as for Gorby, I also posted some thoughts on that her ehttp://rabidsanity.blogspot.com/2011/02/reagan-v-gorbachev.html

    It was never Reagan's tax cuts that caused the deficit. It was always the spending that exceeded the income that caused the deficit.

    • Donla

      I agree, my biggest dissapointment with RR was when he spoke next to a giant pile of paper (the budget) and failed to throw it on the floor – he signed it. The other was his failure to remove the shrine to Jimmy Carter gifted by the NEA called the Dept of Ed. Liberalism understand their big programs and government expansions, like many STDS, have a way of hanging on forever.

  • Jim C.

    Reagan was a born leader. Would that all presidents were as innately "presidential." I, too, enjoyed his speeches.

    Would that his speeches matched his actions. Reagan's greatest success was selling economic voodoo on faith, not fact, convincing millions to vote against their own interests for decades to come. As America has frayed apart, the conservative movement has sought to blame it on outsiders and even their fellow citizens–but never on the economic policy that allowed wealth to concentrate while the middle class that built and served this country stagnated. Eventually the wealthy wrote the rules of government to suit themselves. And now our wealthy are multinational, with no need for loyalty to country, our manufacturing is anywhere but here, our infrastructure is crumbling. "Greed uber alles" was Reagan's unwitting legacy.

  • Bear from Russia

    This is what I am talking about. Reagan is an actor, do you remember? And he could spoke well and he looked well. But now your industry is in China and you have great national debt, don't you? His economic miracle was fake. And he was lucky to be a president in times when Soviet Union moved to it's collapse.
    I just want you people understand one simple thing. USSR collapsed becouse of it's internal problems as all Empires do. USSR didn't collapse in 1920th when the entire world was agains it. USSR survived the second World War. USSR and USA dealed with Corribian crysis without any consequenses. And after all this how can anyone think that Soviet Union collapsed becouse of a simple american president? It is ridiculous. Do not overestimate yourself ;)
    Republic party need a symbol and RR is a convinient guy for this. Democrats have mignificent Roozvelt and Kenedy and Republicans have only stupid Bush and crazy Maccein.

    • Jim C.

      True–even Reagan wasn't the "Reagan" lauded by today's conservatives. But I believe Reagan sped up the inevitable collapse of the USSR, though.

      And how did he do it?

      Government spending!

      • Bear from Russia

        Agree.

        • USMCSniper

          suggest you should start you intellectual recovery by reading Ayn Rand's book "Philosophy Who Needs It" so you can apply objective logic and objective epistemological criteria to determine truth rather than than dialectical nonsense logic that somehow A and non A are "somehow" resolved in the synthesis of opposites,

  • Jim C.

    He made lovely speeches, looked and sounded presidential. But his unexamined espousal of pious certainties had disastrous consequences. And how stands the city on THIS winter night? A shell of its former self, thanks in large part to the long-term effects of Reagan's chimerical economic philosophies, bitterly divided between those who say, "Screw you, I got mine" and those for whom such selfish, short-sighted "individualism" is not enough upon which to build and maintain a society.

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  • BLJ

    Reagan was the greatest U.S. President since Lincoln. He stared down the commie bastard Soviets. Reagan understood how to use the great power of America. He also understood that American is (and will always be despite the current pinko in the WH) the greatest nation on earth.