Ronald Reagan, 1911 - 2004


Ronald Reagan 1911-2004

From 1981 to 1989 former actor Ronald Wilson Reagan led the United States as their 40th president. Some say John Wayne should've been given a chance as well.

Ronald married actress Nancy Davis in 1952.


Busy actor Ronald Reagan also worked as a radio announcer, sport commentator, and spokesman for General Electric.

In 1962, Reagan left the Democrats and joined the Republicans.

On October 27, 1964, and in support of the Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan delivered his nationally televised
A Time for Choosing speech.

Although Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won the race, Reagan's speech put him on the map and he switched from actor to full time politician.

Here you can check the election results.


Reagan was governor of California from 1967 to 1975.


First Term

On January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan delivered his First Inaugural Address. The chaps at the Inauguration desk inform us that "Reagan's Inauguration broke tradition by taking place on the west front terrace of the U.S. Capitol, rather than the east front. The west front could accommodate more visitors."

Reagan's Vice President was George H.W. Bush.


Reagan visited Europe. On June 8, 1982, and after going horseback riding with the Queen on the Windsor Castle grounds in the morning, Ronald Reagan delivered his Address to Members of the British Parliament in London.


On March 8, 1983, Reagan delivered his Evil Empire speech at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida. He combined his visit with a Republican fundraiser later that day.

US-Soviet relations reached a new low when, on August 31, 1983, a South Korean jumbo jet, en route from Alaska to Seoul, was pursued by three Soviet MiG 23 fighter planes and shot down at an altitude of about six miles near the Soviet island of Sakhalin. The Korean Air Lines jumbo carried 269 people, 61 of which were Americans including one U.S. congressman.

On October 25, 1983, the United States invaded the island nation of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea, after a military coup had toppled its government and had killed its prime minister, Maurice Bishop, earlier that month.

Reagan justified the invasion with American fear that Grenada would become a Soviet outpost. Grenada had been independent since 1974 but kept the British monarch as the nominal head of state.

The US invasion, therefore, left Britain somewhat miffed. Moreover,

Mrs. Thatcher's foreign policy adviser, Anthony Parsons, concluded that "it is becoming increasingly obvious that” the United States “had been planning the Grenada move for some time” and that “some plain speaking" with the Americans was needed.

Read the NY Times article Documents Show Thatcher-Reagan Rift Over U.S. Decision to Invade Grenada, published July 31, 2013

A big anniversary came up and that was the 40th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, probably the most famous D-Day. On June 6, 1984, Reagan was in France and delivered his
D-Day Speech, unveiled memorial plaques, and greeted veterans.


Second Term

Ronald Reagan defeated Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro, and on January 21, 1985, he delivered his Second Inaugural Address.

Why on the 21st and not on the 20th as usual? Let's ask the pros at Washington:

Because January 20, 1985 fell on a Sunday, the public Inauguration ceremony was scheduled for Monday, January 21, 1985.

Reagan was sworn in privately on January 20. Owing to record cold temperatures on January 21, 1985, however, the public Inauguration ceremony was moved indoors to the Rotunda, and became a semiprivate ceremony.

By the way, Reagan's second Inauguration was the coldest on record. (His first in 1981 was the warmest.)


On January 28, 1986, space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after its launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida. At 5 pm that day, Ronald Reagan gave his Address on the Challenger Disaster.




An assassination attempt was made on March 30, 1981, by John W. Hinckley Jr., who fired six shots from his Rohm RG-12 .22 revolver in 1.8 seconds from fifteen feet away. Reagan survived thanks to his bodyguards and a speedy transport to the hospital. No one was killed in this incident. Hinckley ended up in a mental hospital.

On May 5, 1986, and just minutes before Reagan's arrival at the Tokyo Summit, Japan, five rockets were fired at the meeting site from an apartment two miles away. The Middle Core Faction terrorist group claimed responsibility.

Check out Assassinations in History.



Similar to tuffbone Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan didn't have much patience for Communism in general and the government of the Soviet Union in particular.

It took Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost policies to soften Ronald's opinion.

And it looked like this:

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev - Glasnost in Action
Copyright AP/WWP

In 1987, Reagan delivered his
Brandenburg Address at the Berlin Wall, asking Gorbachev to bring her down.


Ronald Reagan died of Alzheimer's disease on June 5, 2004, in Los Angeles, California. The state funeral was held at the Washington National Cathedral.

Here is Margaret Thatcher's Tribute to Ronald Reagan.

And here is the Cathedral's page for June 11, 2004.



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