June 10, 2004

Schwarzenegger's tribute to Reagan

Saw the following column by the current governor of California. I'm reprinting it here in its entirety.

For several days, we have been hearing what Ronald Reagan meant to the world.

We all have such vivid memories of him, because he was a man of clarity -- in his heart, in his faith, in his convictions and in his actions. His was a strong, unwavering flame that burned brightly. That is why, although we have not seen him in 10 years, he appears to us so clearly today.

Reagan was a hero to me. I became a citizen of the United States when he was president, and he is the first president I voted for as an American citizen. He inspired me and made me even prouder to be a new American.

He used to talk about the letter he received from a man who said, ''You can go and live in Turkey, but you can't become Turkish. You can go and live in Japan, but you can't become Japanese. You can go to live in Germany or France, but you can't become German or French.'' But the man said that anyone from any corner of the world could come to America and become an American.

When I heard President Reagan tell that story, I said to myself, ''Arnold, you Austrian immigrant, he is talking to you. He is saying that you will fit in here. You will be a real American, able to follow your dreams.''

He represented America

President Reagan symbolized to me what America represented -- hope, opportunity, freedom. He made us remember that the United States stood for something great and noble. Once again, it was alright to stand tall and believe in this country, and in ourselves.

He made each of us, no matter our station in life, feel part of something larger and grander. He saw America as an ''empire of ideals,'' and he advanced those ideals to the world.

Just Monday, I spoke with some of my friends in Austria and Germany. They told me that every single newspaper, every television station, every radio program around the clock is reporting on the life and death of Ronald Reagan. The reports are not just about the passing of an American president, but intimate stories that capture the essence of the person and the persona -- as if he were one of their own.

Why are people everywhere so deeply and personally affected by Ronald Reagan's legacy? Because his leadership profoundly influenced not only America, but also the world. He embodied the very things that all people desire, the same things that draw immigrants like myself to the United States: an unfailing optimism, a devotion to freedom and a belief in the goodness of humankind.

He is a role model for any of us who have been granted the public trust as an elected leader. He led a life of public service with common sense and uncommon purpose. And he taught me something very special about this country: That here, the greatest power is not derived from privilege; it is derived from the people.

President Reagan's unshakable faith in the people reminds us that despite the challenges we face, by the power of our collective resolve, we are a mighty force for goodness and progress.

Words of action

He said, ''To those who are faint-hearted and unsure, I have this message: If you are afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.''

These are words of action, fitting for a nation whose best days are always ahead. Every generation can nourish the American experience -- with more opportunity, stronger security, greater equality, new discoveries.

Ronald Reagan is gone, but his spirit remains with us in all of its vigor and charm. We see the twinkle in his eye, the winning smile on his face, and we hear his message of optimism, courage and strength.

He once said, ''In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal. America's is.'' We are thankful for the life of Ronald Reagan, and blessed that his own light is eternal.

Posted by Physics Geek at June 10, 2004 03:13 PM StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!


That was beautiful.

Thanks for posting it :-)

Posted by: Harvey at June 10, 2004 06:11 PM

My pleasure. I liked it so much that I couldn't bring myself to excerpt from it. It's a keeper.

Posted by: physics geek at June 10, 2004 07:11 PM