THE BIG 100
Welcome to Reaganpalooza. It’s colossal. It’s stupendous. It’s also sincere, endearing and not without a certain poignancy. The man of the hour, one Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th president of the United States, is not here to help celebrate his 100th birthday on Sunday, even as public appreciation and warm affection for Reagan grow.
Yes, there is a birthday cake: 6 feet tall, 400 pounds, chocolate, topped with a 50-pound chocolate eagle, emblazoned with patriotic colors and white chocolate presidential seals. “Ronald Reagan Day” will be proclaimed in the District of Columbia, Dallas, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Houston and nine other cities. Wal-Mart and Target are now selling “Ronald Reagan: An American Journey,” a Hollywood-produced DVD. There’s speechifying, an F-18 flyover and a 21-gun salute at the Reagan Presidential Library; a Jumbotron tribute to the Gipper at the Super Bowl.
“Nancy Reagan is just feeling terrific right now. This is all one big party, but a meaningful one, like when we remember that Ronald Reagan, for all his accomplishments, was actually a humble man,” Mr. Bauer adds. “He would be humbled by all of this celebration, that is what Mrs. Reagan believes. And he’d have a joke about it all, she says. He’d tell everyone, ‘This is the 61st anniversary of my 39th birthday.”
All Washington journalists have their Ronald Reagan stories. Here is mine — a thought Mr. Reagan shared with me on Dec. 27, 1984, after I asked him to reflect on life as he saw it, from the White House:
“Late in the afternoon, in my office, I find myself gazing through the white glass paned doors that lead to the Rose Garden. I am somehow moved more than usual by the brief but vibrant sunlight of Washington in the winter,” Mr. Reagan said.
“There is so much to do, so many new beginnings. I think of the old toast to a newborn child: ‘May he live in peace and freedom.’ There’s so much to do to broaden the peace we enjoy and see that it endures, so many steps to take to see that our prosperity takes deep root, that our economy yields unprecedented opportunity for our children and grandchildren. The heart quickens at the challenges and opportunities.
“The Rose Garden is empty of roses and the magnolias are bereft of their blooms, but somehow it doesn’t feel like winter. I keep sensing the spring that is coming. There’s a feeling of things beginning again.”
Ministry of Filth, Department of Neat and Clean, Department of Environmental Justice, Stephen Colbert Solid Waste Department, Big Waste of Money, Rick Perry’s Log Removal and Government Policymaking Service, Department of Hippies, Hipsters and Eco-Nuts:
Among the 165 potential new names for the Solid Waste Services Department of Austin, Texas, suggested by citizens for a public renaming campaign. The votes will be tallied by the city on Feb. 10.
“So the Muslim Brotherhood has a parallel role here with the tea party. They’re the ones who keep you honest and decide whether you’ve stayed too long. Whether you’ve got a ‘sell by’ date looming,” MSNBC host Chris Matthews proclaimed this week.View Entire Story
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