Ronald Wilson Reagan, athlete, actor, and 40th president of the United States would have been 107 years old today. In this honor, it seemed appropriate to reflect on the amazing life of one of the most memorable leaders our country has ever seen.
In this honor, it seemed appropriate to reflect on the amazing life of one of the most memorable leaders our country has ever seen. No matter which side of the political spectrum you call home, it is widely agreed that Reagan was well-liked by all who knew him. Dubbed “The Great Communicator” it’s no wonder that he is remembered for some of the best one-liners ever uttered by a politician.
Born February 6, 1911, to a poor family in Tampico, Illinois, he spent much of his childhood in nearby Dixon.
He was a talented athlete and attended Eureka (Illinois) College where he was student body president, played football, and was captain of the swim team. His first job was working as a lifeguard, reportedly performing 77 rescues in a six-year period. He later moved to Iowa and became a sports reporter, announcing Chicago Cubs baseball games.
Given the nickname, “Dutch” due to a Dutch Boy haircut he wore when he was little, it stayed with him through much of his life. After playing doomed football player George Gipp in “The Knute Rockne Story,” however, he took on the character's moniker, “The Gipper.”
In 1937 Reagan moved to Hollywood and went on to star in several Big Screen films, and twice served as president of The Screen Actors’ Guild. In 1942, he was called up to active duty in the U.S. Army serving five years. When he got out, he was never able to regain the fame he had only begun to gain before the war.
He then moved on to television where he was the host of General Electric Theater 1952-1963.
He was a member of the Democratic Party until 1962 when he switched to the Republican party declaring, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."
He set his sights set on politics soon after, serving as Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. From there, he moved to the national scene, running, unsuccessfully, for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1976. Four years later, in the largest landslide in U.S. history, Ronald Wilson Reagan defeated sitting-president Jimmy Carter to become the 40th President of the United States, serving eight years.
Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981, facing the incident with his usual good humor. When wife Nancy arrived at the hospital, he remarked apologetically, “Honey, I forgot to duck!” And to the surgeons, as he was being wheeled into the operating room, “I hope you’re all Republicans.”
When he left office in 1989, he had garnered a 68% approval rating, the highest in history, matched only by F.D.R up to that point.
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 1994, he quietly lived out the remainder of his life with his beloved Nancy. Ronald Reagan, The Gipper, The Great Communicator, and 40th President of the United States, died at home on June 5, 2004, leaving behind a legacy that will be hard to top by anyone in the foreseeable future.
Please enjoy the following video showcasing some of the great one-liners superbly delivered by Mr. Reagan. I challenge you to keep a straight face as you watch his brilliant delivery. Happy Birthday, Mr. President!