THE FINAL SALUTE


“Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way.”



June 8, 1982 The Evil Empire Speech to the House of Commons -

1982 - At Kansas State University he appealed to the "admonition of the Man from Galilee to do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Reagan personally inserted that line into the speech himself.

1984 - "I was pleased last year to proclaim 1983 the year of the Bible. But, you know, a group called the ACLU severely criticized me for doing that. Well, I wear their indictment like a badge of honor."

January 1984 - President Reagan uttered the "J word" before the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters. "He promised there will never be a dark night that does not end," Reagan said of Christ. "And by dying for us, Jesus showed how far our love should be ready to go: all the way."

January, 28, 1986 - "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and `slipped the surly bonds of earth' to `touch the face of God.'"

June 1987 - "(Mr. Gorbachev) If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate ... open this gate ... TEAR DOWN THIS WALL." - speech at Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

1988 - While in Moscow he was ending every statement with "God bless you" and "God bless the Soviet people."

"Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot"
Lady Margaret Thatcher - Prime Minister of Great Britain

Excerpts from President Reagan's Farewell Speech delivered in the Oval Office on January 11, 1989.

"The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the `shining city upon a hill.'

I've spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don't know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.

And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.

We've done our part. And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for 8 years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all.

And so, goodbye, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America."

A MESSAGE FROM THE GIPPER

Fellow Americans,

The long journey now has ended,
Yes, the Lord has called me home.
But my dear beloved Nancy,
You will never be alone.

For I will walk beside you,
The way you walked with me.
You will feel my presence with you,
Just the way it used to be.

For all the things that broke your heart
As you watched my memory fade,
God fixed, in but a moment,
Kept the promises He made:

That in Heaven, “Old is New,”
“Sick are well forevermore,”
“Failing minds and tiring bodies,”
“Are made whole, I will restore.”

The road we traveled hand in hand,
Took a long and painful bend,
We had no way of knowing,
When this trip would finally end.

I know the days were lonely,
As you sat quiet by my side,
This journey to an unknown land,
Truly was, “A Long Good-by.”

America, I thank you,

For the great stage that you gave me,
To enjoy life´s awesome ride,
Where the World became my audience,
With Nancy at my side.

I auditioned for The President,
Got the part –answered the call.
It was my finest hour on stage,
The greatest, “Gig,” of all.

I had some, not so funny lines,
The most impressive I recall,
Were those four words to Gorbachev,
“Tear down this wall.”

Keep your faith in God, America,
Keep standing, straight and strong.
As I told you in my last, “Farewell,”
“There will be a brighter dawn.”

As the world takes pause to ponder,
Midst turmoil and unrest,
The Director´s cast is being filled,
He chooses just the best.

Here on God´s great set in Heaven,
I can hear the angels sing,
That great old hymn, “Amazing Grace,”
The final scene will soon begin.

As I watched the credits rolling,
At the ending of the film,
I saw again how truly blessed,
My life on Earth had been.

I see green pastures in the distance,
And my horse is waiting there,
With a golden saddle shining,
And my favorite hat to wear.

Poem Copyright© 2004 Fran Maiers

PRINTED WITH PERMISSION



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