The first time I was eligible to vote, Ronald Reagan's name was on the ballot and I was privileged to vote for him. I was in my freshman year in college and remember how ecstatic we all were about the possibility of a second term for him. I was able to experience the joy of voting, not to expunge someone from office with whom I didn't agree, and not to retain a "lesser-of-two-evils," but for a man I admired and respected and trusted to rule well. His landslide victory increased our fervor and we celebrated for weeks!
When I read biographical accounts of Reagan's life, I am reminded that I wasn't merely young and naive, nor are my memories exaggerated phantoms of a man that didn't exist in life as he does in my imagination. He really was exceptional and listening tonight to these words from him, both cheered me in their remembrance, but made me melancholy in the realization that my children have not - and likely will not - experience this kind of national leader in their lifetime.