- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2011

The recent celebration of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday was a great reminder of his optimism and belief in the American people. Unfortunately, immediately after the centennial celebration, programs broadcast by some liberal-leaning networks sought to debunk the myth, as they called it, of our former president.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps just as Reagan entered office. America was in a shameful place, not only economically, but with our foreign policy. I was ridiculed for wanting to serve in our armed forces.

A few years later, however, Lee Greenwood’s song, “I’m Proud to Be an American” brought to light the profound influence Reagan’s presidency had on the nation. His presence as leader brought us out of the quagmire of national apathy toward our role as leader of the Free World.

What Ronald Reagan gave to Americans was a rediscovery of their national identity. He restored our sense of dignity. Critics come and go, but the effects of great leadership always withstand the test of time.

ED J. MULVANEY JR.

Anniston, Ala.