- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 19, 2011

The List continues to celebrate the centenary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. This week, let’s look at some key dates in Reagan’s presidency.

  • Jan. 20, 1981 — On the day of his inaugural celebrations, Iran releases 52 American hostages held for 444 days.
  • Winter-spring 1981Reagan pushes through budget and tax cuts dubbed “Reaganomics.”
  • March 30, 1981  —The 40th president is wounded by a bullet in his left lung in an assassination attempt outside the Washington Hilton hotel.
  • July 7, 1981Reagan nominates the first woman, Sandra Day O’Connor, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Aug. 4, 1981Congress approves Reagan’s income tax cuts, at $33 billion the largest in history.
  • Aug. 5, 1981Reagan fires more than 11,000 air-traffic controllers who ignored his order to return to work.
  • June 8, 1982 — In a speech to the British Parliament, Reagan asserts that “the march of freedom and democracy” will “leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history.”
  • March 8, 1983 — In a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Fla., Reagan reasserts his conservative roots and calls the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”
  • Oct. 23, 1983 — A truck full of explosives rips through the Marine barracks In Beirut, killing 241 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans before Sept. 11, 2001.
  • Oct. 25, 1983Reagan orders an invasion of Grenada after a leftist military coup resulted in the killing of Marxist Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Mr. Reagan said the invasion of the West Indies island was to protect the Americans who lived there and to help restore democratic institutions.
  • Nov. 2, 1983Reagan signs a bill creating a federal holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Nov. 6, 1984 — Reagan wins re-election with 59 percent of the vote, carrying 49 states in a record landslide. Republicans gain 14 seats in the House but lose two Senate seats.
  • March 13, 1985 Reagan vows to veto any tax increase by Congress, saying: “Go ahead, make my day.”
  • Dec. 12, 1985Reagan signs the Gramm-Rudman Act providing for him to impose spending cuts if Congress does not meet yearly targets designed to eliminate the federal deficit by 1991.
  • April 15, 1986Reagan authorizes air strikes against Libya for bombing a disco in West Berlin where two U.S. servicemen were killed and more than 200 people were injured.
  • Oct. 11-12, 1986 — At a summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev face a deadlock over U.S. plans to deploy a space-based missile-defense system.
  • November 1986 — It comes to light that Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo, in hopes that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras.
  • June 12, 1987 — During a speech on the west side of the Berlin Wall, Reagan challenges Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”
  • Dec. 8-10, 1987  Reagan hosts Mr. Gorbachev at a three-day summit in Washington that produces a treaty calling for the dismantling of all Soviet and U.S. medium-range nuclear weapons.
  • Aug. 15, 1988Reagan passes the torch of Republican leadership to Vice President George H.W. Bush in a speech at the national convention in New Orleans.
  • Jan. 20, 1989Reagan leaves office for retirement in Los Angeles. His job-approval rating of 68 percent is the highest to be received by a president at the end of a term since World War II.

Compiled by: John Haydon

Sources: The Washington Times, cbsnews.com, Associated Press