I remember the feeling when President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, was in office. Malaise was the word, a general feeling of despair, unease and pessimism. Most who remember his presidency think of the energy crisis with long gas lines, 16% inflation, 22% interest rates, and 70% marginal tax rates. And who could ever forget Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in response to which President Carter ended détente, escalated the Cold War and led the international boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Many Americans were not born or too young to remember the feeling of hopelessness, but we who lived through it will never forget.
President Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in January 1981, and immediately Iran freed the hostages that had been held for so long. Almost immediately the mood of the country lightened. Americans felt optimistic and hopeful.
President Reagan's most memorable words will long be remembered: " Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" That speech made in West Berlin on June 12, 1987 paved the way for the fall of the Berlin wall which had divided West and East Berlin since 1961.
Critics and historians will differ on their opinions of President Reagan, but I will most remember President Reagan for restoring American pride and morale and faith in the American Dream, as well as his love for our country. I still treasure the memory of a day in 1984 when President Reagan came to my town. I took my young daughter out of school to see him. What a thrill and honor it was to see and hear this amazing and uplifting man.
As we mourn the passing of President Reagan's beloved wife, Nancy Reagan, I pray God will raise up someone like Ronald Reagan to lead our country through these dark times. May that person be inspiring, principled, honorable, dignified, wise, fair, and able to unite all Americans with love of humanity and our beautiful country, the United States of America!