Incredibly brave and incredibly emotional.
President Reagan sensed that the days of Eastern Europe living in prison camp was numbered. Even so, the State Department had fits, and the media (and maybe even me, back then) considered his words to be highly provocative.
But he knew EXACTLY what he was saying...and Eastern Europe (and basically Russia) are FREE!!!!!!
For us people that grew up during the Cold War, we NEVER thought that the Soviets could be defeated without huge amounts of bloodshed...how wrong we were.
On some issues Reagan used his advisers, but for important issues like this it was all him. He was a rarity.