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January 18, 1982
The day started off as not bad. Met with 2 leaders of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They gave me a book & told me of their anti-drug program. Then Mike Mansfield, our Amb. to Japan & their trade minister Abe came in. We had a good visit. Abe may very well be P.M. of Japan in a couple of years. I think we’re getting our trade relations on a better footing. Then the day turned bad. Lt. Col. Ray, our attaché in Paris was gunned down & killed as he left for work. I called Mrs. Ray—but what can one say? The other attaches & their wives were with her. I told her we were meeting with the French govt. to see if we couldn’t provide some kind of security & we’re reviewing our own efforts. A Tex Saunders called—said he’d been a grip on some of our “Death Valley Days” shows. He’s in town for his son’s funeral. His son is an A.F. Lt. who was knocked off the bridge & killed by the 737 that crashed in the Potomac. I talked to his widow. In a meeting preparing for press conference (in Cabinet Room) I was handed a note. The Thunderbirds—our Air Force precision team practicing for an air show out in Nevada. All 4 planes crashed—no survivors. We prayed. Supposed to have dinner here with Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reynolds at 8:25 P.M. We called—they thought our date was for Feb. 1.