Ronald Wilson Reagan was sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 1981. Iran, which had been holding dozens of American hostages for more than a year, released the former embassy workers within an hour of Reagan's taking office.
What started as the best year of Ronald Reagan's long lifetime came to an abrupt halt when would-be assassin John Hinckley, Jr. shot the President outside of the Washington Hilton Hotel. Reagan survived, winning the hearts of both supporters and opponents alike with his ever-positive and humorous personality, telling doctors who were about to operate on him, "I hope you're all Republicans."
Weeks later, the President surprised nearly everyone by passing the "Kemp-Roth" 25% income tax cuts through a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives. The cuts are credited with turning around the American economy and mainstreaming "supply-side economics." Though Reagan cut taxes, the resulting economic growth resulted in federal government revenues increasing by 96% during the Gipper's 8 years in office.
The popular Reagan was re-elected and concluded his distinguished political career in 1989.
About that time, the Soviet Union began to disintegrate, the Berlin Wall fell and Eastern Europe was freed from communist oppression. Ronald Reagan arguably had accomplished more than any other person in the 20th Century. But his retirement years were cut short by the revelation in 1994 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease.
The retired president faded from public view after the announcement and lived until 2004, when the family announced his passing.
The President was buried in southern California near his presidential library in June 2004 after a moving nationally televised funeral service. Ronald Wilson Reagan, the simple boy from Tampico, Illinois, had become the man of the century, changing the course of world history and freeing hundreds of millions of people from the slavery of oppression.
Yea, I was home that week for the funeral. I had tears in my eyes. I did record the event for the future. I had to make copies for hundreds of freepers! I wish we had him back!