Saturday, January 19, 2013

(Video) Reagan's first inaugural address

Ohio, IL
I was watching at a University of Illinois dormitory snack hall on January 20, 1981 when Ronald Reagan gave his first inaugural address. It was a dramatic day in American history--not because it was the first day of the Gipper's successful presidency, but the 52 hostages held by the Iranian thug regime after 444 days were released as Reagan spoke.

What a day. What a speech.

"The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades." Reagan declared. "They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we as Americans have the capacity now, as we've had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom."

"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem," he added.

Here's another gem: "We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around."

Endangered Chicago Reagan home
I love this part: "It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we're too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope."

It's a great speech, although our left-tilting media outlets and academics refuse to rank it among the other towering inaugural addresses such as Thomas Jefferson's healing words in 1801, or Lincoln's second inaugural, or John F. Kennedy's inspiring call, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Meanwhile, 21st Century Americans can still "Win one for the Gipper."

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