- The Washington Times - Monday, June 7, 2004

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry lauded Ronald Reagan’s legacy of bipartisanship yesterday and canceled five days of campaign events in honor of the former president’s death.

“Yesterday, we lost one of our great optimists,” Mr. Kerry told graduating seniors from Bedford High School. “President Reagan’s belief in America was infectious. And because of the way he led, he taught us that there was a difference between strong beliefs and bitter partisanship.”

Mr. Kerry’s campaign said it was canceling all public events through Friday, including star-studded fund-raising concerts scheduled for today in Los Angeles and Thursday in New York.

Mr. Kerry called Mr. Reagan “the voice of America in good times and in grief.” He remembered Mr. Reagan’s tribute to the men who fought at Normandy on D-Day 60 years ago yesterday, his resolve to bring down the Berlin Wall and his poignant remembrance of the Challenger space shuttle astronauts.

“Free men and women everywhere will forever remember and honor President Reagan’s role in ending the Cold War,” Mr. Kerry said. “He really did believe that communism could be ended in his lifetime, and he helped to make it happen. Perhaps President Reagan’s greatest monument isn’t any building or any structure that bears his name, but it is the absence of the Berlin Wall.”

Mr. Kerry’s speech to the school’s 372 graduates was scheduled to mark the D-Day anniversary, and he went ahead with the appearance despite Mr. Reagan’s death Saturday.

As the Massachusetts senator remembered the 40th president and the “greatest generation” of World War II, he encouraged the students to serve their country and “find the greatness that’s in you.”

“I wish, just as I wished for my own daughters on the day of their graduation and just as your parents sitting here today wish for you, that they could send you out into a world of peace, a world of justice, a world that is fair and free for every person on this earth,” Mr. Kerry said.

Although Bedford High School is in Temperance, Mich., the commencement was held at the University of Toledo.

The senator came to the graduation after receiving a letter from Brandon Spader, a graduating senior and editor of the student newspaper, who told of the area’s sagging economy and requested an interview.

Mr. Kerry canceled the week’s campaign trips to Colorado, California, Arizona and New York, but will travel to Los Angeles tomorrow and Wednesday to attend daughter Alexandra’s graduation from the American Film Institute. He plans to spend of the rest of the week in the Washington, where Mr. Reagan’s body is to be flown Wednesday.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide