I have lived a good life up unto this point. I have surpassed my life long goals as a child. I have my pilot’s license and I graduated from college. Yes, I am not rich or famous, I haven’t been to space, and I still can’t spell but my life is good. But those things were not on the list. I do have lots of wonderful friends and there is not much I want to do that is out of my reach. But I do have one regret.
As a young child I remember election night 1980. All I really remember is the map changing to red or blue. That was well before it was clever to be a RED state or BLUE state. It was right before my fourth birthday so I don’t remember much. However year four through twelve of my life was filled with images and audio of the Great Communicator. Other than my mother and father he was the driving force behind my maturation. There is no other figure in my life outside of family who influenced me more.
One of my favorite movies as a child was This is the Army, with a lieutenant addressing military actors to give the performance their best efforts because the commander in chief was in attendance. That actor later became the commander in chief. Not many actors had a devoted belief in our country. Actors in the 1940s wanted to do what was best for the country but not soil their careers. Way back when GE or General Electric sponsored thoughtful addresses and pro American conversations, a former Democrat called it “A Time for Choosing” and spoke of a time where Americans paid 37 cents on every dollar in taxes.
Skip forward from 1964 to 1984, I was in second grade and he was running for re-election. I was very focused on life in Mrs. Goldens’ classroom and the nightly news. He carried forty-nine of fifty states. I still remember Minnesota surrounded by a sea of red and Canada. I don’t think Wilt Chamberlin or the Dallas Cowboys could be more dominating than his performance that year. Yes, he was kicking butt and taking names, but he was also living a life of conviction and teaching kids like me values.
Yes, I know there are people out there who would argue with me. Maybe you think he was a right wing radical or a bitter Christian clinging to his Bible and guns. But I will disagree with you. It doesn’t matter what you say about him. He had convictions and he had a dream for America. See, America is that shinning city on a hill. It is the beacon of freedom to the world. Some followed him and some followed Europe. But he called for change and he gave us hope. He didn’t just speak words from a teleprompter. He spoke from his heart and that is why he is my hero.
I remember his last day in office and where I was when I heard of his passing. My one regret in life is not paying my respects to my fallen hero. It was five years ago this summer when he passed away of Alzheimer’s and I wish I would have left work, driven to Washington D.C., stood in line for hours and said good bye to Ronald Reagan. I only wish the men and women of today’s government had similar convictions in their hearts. No, I am not saying they should all follow Reagan’s marching orders. I am saying whatever their convictions are they should use good sense and be loyal to them. Now my hope is that I don’t have two regrets in life. I hope I live by my own convictions.