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A Beacon of Hope

Every four years, citizens of America are given a sacred opportunity — one born of sacrifice and courage — to cast a vote for the next president of the United States. In many ways, it becomes one of the most polarizing events a nation can experience, a transfer of power President Reagan deemed “nothing less than a miracle.”

As he demonstrated nearly 40 years ago, President Reagan knew that once democracy had spoken, a necessary time of unifying individuals toward a common love for America must commence. This respect for country over politics rang true during his Inauguration Speech on January 20, 1981. He didn’t thank the citizens who cast a vote for him; he appealed to the hopes and dreams of everyone he was elected to represent: Americans. Here are a few highlights we can take to heart today.

“In the eyes of many in the world, this every-four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle. Mr. President, I want our fellow citizens to know how much you did to carry on this tradition. By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other, and I thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic.”

“We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we're in a time when there are not heroes, they just don't know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter, and they're on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth, and opportunity. They're individuals and families whose taxes support the government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet, but deep. Their values sustain our national life.”

“Well, I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children, and our children's children. And as we renew ourselves here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength throughout the world. We will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom.”

“The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds, to believe that together with God's help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us. And after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans.”