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President Ronald Reagan

How did this individual change America?

Report Keyed By: Lovisa Lund American History 9

November 18, 2008

President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born February 6, 1911 in an apartment in Tampico, Illinois to Nelle and John “Jack” Reagan. When Ronald turned eleven, his mother gave him the book “The Printer of Udell’s”, which he says inspired him to become an Evangelical Christian. His nickname carried over from his childhood, given by his dad, was ‘Dutch’ due to his fat little Dutchman like appearance and Dutchboy haircut. Ronald Reagan’s family lived in some different cities in Illinois, for example Monmouth, Galesburg and Chicago, until returning to Tampico at age 11. There they lived above the H.C. Pitney Variety Store. After Reagan became president, living on the top floor of the White House, he would joke about living above the store once again. In 1920, they moved to Dixon, where he attended Dixon High School. Mr. Reagan was very active in sports, storytelling, and acting. One of his first jobs was being a lifeguard, where he reports he saved seventy seven lives. After high school, he attended Eureka College, where he was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and majored in sociology and economics, still being active in football among other sports. After graduating from Eureka in 1932, he drove all the way to Iowa to become a radio announcer. He went from a small town radio broadcaster to an actor in the “B Film” division.

On April 29, 1937 Reagan enlisted as a private in the Army Enlisted reserve assigned to troop B, 322nd Calvary at Des Moines, Iowa. On May 25, 1937 he was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps and on June 18, he was assigned to the 323rd Calvary. He was ordered to active duty for the first time on April 18, 1942, but because of his near sightedness, he only could be classified for limited service. This means he could not serve overseas. Reagans first assignment was at the San Francisco port of Embarkation at Fort Mason, California. There he was a liaison officer of the Port and Transportation Office. With the approval of the Army Air Force (AAF), he applied for a transfer from the Calvary to the AAF on May 15, 1942. He was assigned to AAF Public Relations where he was therefore assigned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California. On January 14, 1943 he was promoted to first lieutenant and sent to Provisional Task Force Show Unit in Burbank, California for This is the Army. After finishing this duty of his, he returned to the 1st Motion Picture Unit and once again promote to Captain on July 22, 1943. After temporary duty in New York, he returned to Fort MacArthur, California, being separated from active duty on December 9, 1945. By the end of the war his units produced over 400 training films for the AAF. President Reagan was the first president to ever be divorced. He was divorced from Jane Wyman in 1949, having 2 surviving children with her. In 1952, he was married to Nancy Davis, and they had 2 children also. They

seemed to be very close and intimate to observers. In 1994 Reagan wrote in a letter to US Citizens, “I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans that will be affected by Alzheimer’s disease…I only wish there was some way I could make Nancy don’t have to go through this painful experience.” And in 1998 when he was severely affected by the disease, Nancy told Vanity Fair “Our relationship is very special. We were very much in love and still are. When I say my life began with Ronnie, well, it’s true. It did. I can’t imagine life without him.”(Nancy, 1998) In 1966, Ronald Reagan became the governor of California. He emphasized two main themes: “to send the welfare bums back to work” and “to clean up the mess at Berkley”, where anti war student protests were taking place. He was elected to his first term of presidency in 1981 as the oldest one to be elected even to this day. As Reagan gave his first inaugural address, 52 US hostages were released that had been held captive by Iran for 444 days. This is just one of the dramatic things that happened during his presidency until 1989. I will briefly go into a few more. On March 30, 1981, Reagan, his press secretary and two others were shot by John Hinckley, Jr., missing Reagan’s heart by less than an inch, which hit his left lung instead. He is known for cutting taxes and protecting entitlement programs like social security and Medicare. He was president during the cold war and it ended in 1985. He founded “Just say no” to drug and alcohol abuse during his second term. The Challenger Space disaster also occurred during his second term, where he showed the quality Professor Greene

describes as the ‘Chief Soother’. In 1986, he signed the IRCA, which made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit illegal immigrants. As you can see, President Ronald Reagan had a very interesting life. He changed America in many ways, an important one to me is that he let it be known that anything is possible. Dreams can come true, and that starting off as a radio announcer can sometime end in presidency. He went from trying to ‘make it big in Hollywood’ to making it big in Washington, D.C. This should inspire anyone that you never know what is in store for you and how much change you are capable to make happen. Another thing is that he ended the Cold War for America pretty peacefully. He was big on the well being of all Americans, especially having a first hand experience with Alzheimer’s. He had strong perseverance, not giving up throughout his entire life, especially with his dramatic and traumatic presidency. Attempt assassination, Alzheimer’s disease, divorce, in the middle of the Cold War, and an economy crisis are just to name a few. To me, Ronald Reagan changed America and things would have turned out way differently if he had not became the president of the United States. Ronald Reagan died June 5, 2004 at his home in Bel Air, California, at age 93 suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for ten years. President George W. Bush declared June 11 as a day of mourning and on June 7 his body was taken to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, where a small family funeral took place. June 9, his body was flows to Washington, D.C. and he became

the tenth president to lie in state. His burial site is inscribed with the words he delivered at the opening of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and that there is always purpose and worth to each and every life.”

Dugger, Ronnie. On Reagan the Man & His Presidency. New York: McGrawHill Book Company, 1983.

“The White House” President Ronald Reagan. 2008.

Simon and Schuster. “Ronald, the Official Site”. Hollywood

Bowmer, Rick. “Ronald Reagan”. TIME 100. April 13, 1998.

Publuis Press, Inc. “Ronald Reagan Biography 1911-1980” Federalism and the New Conservatism Reagan 2020. 2006. TT, Sedish newspaper, DN . May,2008 Ronald Reagan var 69 år när han valdes