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Since April is National Humor Month, in this week’s Words to Live by podcast, we take a look at how President Reagan used humor to ease a crowd or to make a point, and to have fun while doing it. President Reagan never ceased to poke fun of his own age. He joked he was as old as Moses, that he knew some of our founding fathers, and that every birthday was an anniversary celebration of his 39th birthday.
In this week’s Words to Live By, we honor St. Patrick’s Day, the cultural and religious celebration held each year on March 17th, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has evolved over the years into a celebration of Irish culture with parades, special foods, music, dancing, drinking…and a whole lot of green! Ronald Reagan’s ancestral homeland was Ballyporeen, Ireland, and he was extremely proud of his Irish roots. In June of 1984, during a diplomatic mission to Ireland, President and Mrs. Reagan visited Ballyporeen, where he discovered a local pub named in his honor!
The White House Press Secretary is a senior White House official whose primary responsibility is to act as spokesperson for the executive branch of the federal government of the United, States, especially with regard to the president, senior aides and executives, as well as government policies. The press secretary is responsible for collecting information about actions and events within the president's administration and issues the administration's reactions to developments around the world. The press secretary interacts with the media and the White House press corps on a daily basis. President Reagan selected James Brady for his first White House Press Secretary. Just 40 when Ronald Reagan gave him the White House job, he had already served as a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget and the Pentagon, and for the failed presidential campaign of Texas Republican John Connally.Exactly two months into the job, on March 21, 1981, President Reagan joined in the fun during a roast in honor of Press Secretary Brady.
While in office, President Reagan visited 26 foreign countries, and countless U.S. cities, traveling over 660,000 miles in Air Force One – more than any other president at that time. His first visit outside of the United States? To Canada, in March of 1981. We learn more about this trip in this week’s Words To Live By Podcast.
A White House state dinner honors a visiting head of government or reigning monarch and is one of the grandest and most glamorous of White House affairs. It is part of an official state visit and provides the president and first lady the opportunity to honor the visiting head of state and his or her spouse. It is a courtesy—an expression of goodwill—a way of extending hospitality. It brings to mind the tradition of breaking bread with friends to seal a friendship. It is an event that also showcases global power and influence. The traditional toasts exchanged by the two leaders at the dinner offer an important and appropriate platform for the continuation of the serious dialogue that has taken place earlier in the day. Let’s now listen to the Toasts of President Reagan and Prime Minister Thatcher at the first State Dinner, on February 26, 1981.
Since the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, the ceremony has been held at the west front of the United States Capitol facing the National Mall, with its iconic Washington Monument and distant Lincoln Memorial. But prior to being elected president, candidates must go through the debate process. Let’s start this podcast with our “Ronald Reagan Greatest Debate Moments” collection.
In November of 1979, militants in Iran seized 66 American citizens at the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 of them hostage for more than a year. Negotiations to get the citizens returned safely to America were hard, as the US administration struggled to find anyone to negotiate within a meaningful fashion. On January 27, 1981, just six days after the inauguration, President Reagan welcomed all of the freed American hostages at the White House and greeted each of them individually. Let’s listen to his remarks from that day.
January 20, 2021, otherwise known as Inauguration day. But it’s also historic for another reason. January 20, 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, making him the 40th president of the united states. Let’s use this podcast to go back 40 years in time, and listen to President Reagan’s inspiring 1981 inaugural address. Let's listen.
Ronald Reagan made a point of honoring American heroes—in ceremonies at the White House and on many other occasions. During his State of the Union Addresses, he began a tradition of extending the nation’s gratitude to ordinary citizens who met extraordinary challenges. He described heroes best during his first State of the Union address, which he delivered on January 26, 1982. Let’s listen.
With President Reagan’s staunch support, NASA put the Space Shuttle to work on 27 occasions during his administration alone, carrying people into orbit, launching, recovering and repairing satellites, conducting cutting-edge research and building the largest structure in space, the International Space Station. Let’s now listen to President Reagan’s radio addresses to the nation on the space program.
In December of 1985, just a month after their Geneva meeting, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev agreed to record a joint New Year’s Message – one that would play over the radio in both the United States and the Soviet Union. President Reagan recorded his half at 9am on December 28th from the Century Plaza Hotel in los Angeles. It was actually broadcast via television at 1pm on January 1st in the Soviet Union. Let's listen.