I’ve parked in the same parking lot daily for fifteen years. Every day I see a co-worker’s van with a bumper sticker that says, “I Miss Reagan”. I’m not even entirely sure who drives that van, but I’m starting to understand the bumper sticker and agree with it more and more.
From 1981 to 1989, as President of the United States, Ronald Reagan rarely missed the opportunity to communicate directly with the people he represented every Saturday in a nationally broadcast radio address. He was the first President to effectively use the radio as a means to speak directly to America since Franklin D. Roosevelt, and there has not been a Presidential radio address since November of 2017. Reagan used easy to understand language to keep the country up to date on news and pressing policy issues, and to clear up rumors and falsehoods. As he had spent a lifetime in front of cameras and microphones, he did this masterfully. Like his presidency, his radio addresses were filled with class and grace.
Today is the 30th anniversary of President Reagan’s final radio address. Listening to it this morning, I was struck by a number of things that would make me agree with that bumper sticker. Reagan showed a knowledge of history and America’s role in it. He spoke with confidence, but not arrogance. He spoke with appreciation of the many blessings of America and hope for the future that lay ahead.
“The hope of human freedom—the quest for it, the achievement of it—is the American saga. And I’ve often recalled one group of early settlers making a treacherous crossing of the Atlantic on a small ship when their leader, a minister, noted that perhaps their venture would fail and they would become a byword, a footnote to history. But perhaps, too, with God’s help, they might also found a new world, a city upon a hill, a light unto the nations.
Those words and that destiny beckon to us still. Whether we seek it or not, whether we like it or not, we Americans are keepers of the miracles. We are asked to be guardians of a place to come to, a place to start again, a place to live in the dignity God meant for his children. May it ever be so. Thanks for listening, and God bless you.”
January 14, 1989
Click here for a link to the entire radio address, which is a little over five minutes long:
If you choose to listen to it, you will probably also miss Reagan, even if you didn’t always agree with him.
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