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Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens. On Constitution Day, Americans are encouraged to observe this important day in our nation's history by celebrating activities, learning, and demonstrations of our Love for the United States of America and the Blessings of Freedom Our Founding Fathers secured for us.
Today’s “Words to Live By” honors the 20th anniversary of 9-11. We remember today not only to honor the almost 3000 innocent souls who lost their lives that day and the other 6000 people who were injured, but to send an irrefutable message to those who perpetrated this unthinkable crime that we will never forget and our resolve to continue the fight for freedom will only get stronger. This anniversary should be a time to think about the past but also to look to the future. Nothing short of our way of life is at stake. But history demonstrates that the American people and our resolve are second to none. We will prevail. Rather than listen to an entire speech, today’s “Words to Live By” contains quotes from President Reagan’s remarks about terrorism and strength.
How can two fiercely opposed sides of American government possibly thrive by meeting in the middle and achieving long-lasting legislative results for the American people? To find the answer all one has to do is study the relationship between Republican President Ronald Reagan and Democrat Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. Although the pair faced off in numerous battles on Capitol Hill, they also shared a strong admiration and respect for one another that evolved into a beautiful friendship.
Yesterday, August 16, 2021, was national tell a joke day. In honor of this entertaining day, we thought we’d take another look at Ronald Reagan and humor. Ronald Reagan loved a good joke. He could take them and dish them out with ease. Throughout his political career, Ronald Reagan used humor to take the sharp edge off serious messages, and he also used it to alleviate the hurt of detractors. Ronald Reagan’s age was the subject of many jokes during his presidency, and in a famous moment during the October 28, 1984, presidential debate with former Vice President Walter Mondale, he spun the issue in his own favor, famously deadpanning, “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” In another instance, he noted, “Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.’ And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.” So sit back and relax, and enjoy some of our favorite jokes and quips and stories during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
In honor of the Reagan’s Library current special exhibition, FBI: From Al Capone to Al Qaeda, which is on display through January 9, 2022, this week’s Words to Live By podcast focuses on the FBI. The FBI is the nation's lead federal law enforcement agency for investigating and preventing acts of domestic and international terrorism. It is the lead federal agency for investigating attacks involving weapons of mass destruction—those involving chemical, radiological, or biological agents or nuclear weapons.
In this week’s podcast, we present President Reagan’s remarks and question-and-answer session with reporters on the Air Traffic Controllers Strike on August 3, 1981, which happened 40 years ago today. Writing about that speech in his book “Speaking My Mind,” Ronald Reagan said, “I'm not very good at firing people; maybe it goes back to the fact that as a child I can remember my father being out of work. I know the hardship and dislocation it can cause a family. But I also believe that people should keep their word when they make a promise. This is why I fired the air controllers.”
In 1932, Ronald Reagan registered as a Democrat and cast his first vote for FDR, who captivated him with his Fireside chats. As a young man, Ronald Reagan also respected the ideas of fellow Democrat Woodrow Wilson, citing this quote: “Liberty has never come from government…. The history of liberty is the history of limitation of government’s power, not the increase of it.” Ronald Reagan believed he was a Democrat through and through. Self-described as a “near hopeless hemophilic liberal” who “bled for causes,” Reagan continued to support Democratic candidates. In 1948, he hit the campaign trail for Hubert Humphrey and Harry Truman because he “wasn’t a tax-and-spend Democrat.” However, Ronald Reagan’s positions began to change in the ‘50s. General Dwight Eisenhower was considering a run for the Presidency and was encouraged to do so by many Americans. The problem was that no one knew which political party he would lead. To force the issue, in 1952 Reagan joined several other Democrats in sending a telegram to Eisenhower urging him to run for President as a Democrat. Once Eisenhower decided to run on the Republican ticket, Ronald Reagan campaigned and voted for him, believing he was the best man for the job and casting his first Republican vote. By 1960, Ronald Reagan believed that the Democratic Party was no longer the party of Thomas Jefferson or Woodrow Wilson, saying, “I realized the real enemy wasn’t big business, it was big government.”
These past few months have both divided our country and brought us back together. Racism is a universal challenge. There is no society on earth that is free from racism. While the US and other countries have made progress to be less racist, racism still exists. Of course, we should not accept racism in any form. We can do better. Racism goes against core American values, values that President Reagan stood up for every day -- equality and freedom. In 1987, during an address to high school students on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, President Reagan declared, “We cannot be complacent about racism and bigotry. And I would challenge all of you to pledge yourselves to building an America where incidents of racial hatred do not happen.” Let’s listen.
Ronald Reagan believed strongly in equality for all – regardless of age, gender, race or religion. In this words to live by podcast we are going to focus on President Reagan’s part in advancing the role of women. In a previous podcast we discussed how Ronald Reagan pledged, during his 1980 presidential campaign, to nominate the first woman to the US Supreme Court, as he felt this nomination was long overdue. In addition, each year in August, he issued a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day, which coincided with the August 26, 1920 passing of the 19th amendment to the constitution becoming a law – which granted women the right to vote. In his 1985 proclamation he wrote, “In every field of endeavor, women have made notable contributions to our national life. Their achievements have shown that America's women are a tremendous human resource for our Nation -- an inexhaustible reserve of talent, imagination, and ambition. Today, women have an unparalleled degree of opportunity to decide what they want to achieve in their lives. Whether they devote themselves to raising families or to pursuing careers, their contributions to America are leaving an indelible mark on our Nation's life. In the years ahead, their accomplishments will continue to shape profoundly our Nation's destiny. And in 1982, he wrote, “women have faithfully carried out responsibilities at all levels of government, in every area of employment and education, and in the nurturing of families and children. Today, more than ever, we honor women for their contribution in helping to make America great. Let us help pledge anew to dedicate our efforts to ensure equality of opportunity for every citizen of the United States.” On September 8, 1988, President Reagan addressed Executive Women in Government, saying “you represent the leading edge of a great wave of progress for American women.” Let’s listen.
Throughout her life, Nancy Reagan served in many roles. First as actress, wife and mother, then as First Lady of both California and the United States. In recognition of Mrs. Reagan’s tireless efforts on behalf of her husband, the nation, and the Foundation which bears her husband’s name, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is honoring her with the Nancy Reagan Centennial from July 6, 2021-July 6, 2022. This year-long commemoration will be filled with celebratory events, content rich programming, and special projects that will highlight her many contributions to the nation and her life of extraordinary achievements. “Some have called Nancy Reagan a diplomat for her time as First Lady of the United States. Others see her as a bridgebuilder,” said Fred Ryan, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute. “But without question, many people called Nancy Reagan one of the strongest partners ever to serve as First Lady to a President of the United States, with a deep passion for her country and even deeper devotion for her husband.” To celebrate this upcoming Centennial year – and honor Nancy Reagan for a life of extraordinary achievements – the Reagan Foundation and Institute will feature important milestones in her life through a series of programs, including the creation of the Nancy Reagan Youth Fund, a forum in Washington, D.C. dedicated to the role of First Ladies, a special exhibit at the Reagan Library, educational curriculum for schools across the country using primary source materials, an essay/video contest for schoolchildren with scholarship rewards, a Centennial Surrogate Speakers program and the commissioning of a Nancy Reagan statue, amongst other endeavors.
After college, at the age of 22, Ronald Reagan, according to his autobiography, achieved his dream of becoming a sports announcer at WHO radio in Des Moines. Of the experience he wrote, “if I had stopped there, I believe I would have been happy the rest of my life.” The job brought him to California to cover the Chicago Cubs training camp on Catalina Island, which led him to screen test for Warner Brothers, and the rest his history! Of all the years he played sports, he’s probably most known for playing George Gipp in the movie, “Knute Rockne: All American.” As President, Ronald Reagan liked to incorporate sports whenever he could – throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game, playing a round of golf, welcoming athletes to the White House, and even hosting a little league game on the White House South Lawn in 1983. In June of 1981, President Reagan spoke at a White House reception opening for a “champions of American sport” exhibition. Let’s listen.