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February

23

1983

February 23, 1983



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Diary Entry - 02/23/1983

Wednesday, February 23, 1983

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Brkfst. in St. Dining Room—it was Geoffrey Sperling’s regular press breakfast although I hosted it this time. About 45 of the top press—1 hr. of Q&A. Everyone says “I done good.” I was happy—I got to straighten out some of the mis-information they get from those “unnamed sources.” Met with Amb. Ahrens—he’s leaving to become Israel’s minister of defense. I hope I made him aware of how serious we are about Israel getting out of Lebanon. Soares of Portugal (probably be P.M. after election) came by. He’s a socialist but entirely anti-Communist & pro-America. Lunch for a dozen recipients receiving Pres. Medal of Freedom. About 350 people in all. After lunch Dan R. caught me for an electrocardiogram & tests before & after the treadmill. Home for afternoon. Called a Mrs. Nelson, Canton Ga.—her son a green beret trainee on a training mission in Panama was killed. He was 25 and told her he was in the service because he wanted to serve me. I had a newspaper clipping with his picture before me. He was strikingly handsome. How I wish there were words that could bring comfort to his mother. When she told me what he had said about me I felt very humble. And oh how I pray I can even be a little deserving of that. [In the diary is a newspaper clipping from the Atlanta Constitution dated Tuesday, February 15, 1983, about Ronald Allen Nelson, the Green Beret killed in the training accident. A portion of the article is underlined: “ ‘President Reagan doesn’t know it, but he lost his biggest, staunchest suppporter’ {said Kenneth Nelson, the young man’s father}. The younger Nelson worked hard in Reagan’s campaign and sent most of his earnings as a retail salesman to the Reagan campaign in 1980, family members said.”]