CNN.com users remember Reagan
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|REAGAN'S LIFE AND TIMES|
Birth: February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois
Married: Jane Wyman 1940-1948, Nancy Davis in 1952
Education: Graduates from Eureka College, Illinois, in 1932
1932-1966: Sports announcer, motion picture and TV actor
1947-1952: President of Screen Actors Guild
1962: Campaigns for Richard Nixon, GOP gubernatorial candidate in California
1967-1974: Governor of California
1976: Loses Republican primary to Gerald Ford
1980: Elected 40th president, beating Jimmy Carter
March 30, 1981: Assassination attempt
January 11, 1989: Farewell address to the nation
1994: Announces he has Alzheimer's disease
May 16, 2002: Ronald and Nancy Reagan awarded Congressional
(CNN) -- CNN.com asked its users to reflect on the death of Ronald Reagan and share their memories of the former president.
Below are some of the thousands of e-mails that CNN.com has received so far. Send in your thoughts.
Eric Hackl from Glenview, Illinois:
Ronald Reagan is one of those leaders that appear once every generation or so that truly makes a difference. Leaders like Ronald Reagan make real the dreams and hopes of not only Americans, but those of humanity. Thank you Mr. Reagan! You are sorely missed.
Debra from Dixon, Illinois:
I can remember when he came to Dixon, Illinois for his birthday. I was so excited to see the president return to his hometown. I am so proud he is from my hometown of Dixon, Illinois.
Luda Draganova from Reston, Virginia:
Once upon a time I lived in Ukraine (former Soviet Union), and America seemed an unknown far-away land. In August 1987 an American exhibition "Information Systems in USA" opened in Kiev. It was one of the first ice-breaking Soviet-American events and drew huge crowds of people. I attended the exhibition and received its colorful booklet with Ronald Reagan's picture and introductory message on the cover. When I was returning home later that day with the booklet in my hands, a guy approached me - he wanted to take a look at the booklet. Then he asked about the exposition and we started to talk. Four months later we married and have been living happily ever after. Our family album opens with Ronald Reagan's picture from that booklet. Because that's how our family has started - with sort of a blessing from the American president.
Lori from New York, New York:
I'm from a lower middle-class family that was negatively affected by the Reagan presidency. I was denied a guaranteed student loan for college, so I had to work two jobs to support myself. My parents had trouble finding work, and many benefits were cut to support military spending. I lost countless friends to AIDS because he refused to address the epidemic or fund low-cost drugs to control it. The 80's were a hard time for most working people.
Annie from Raleigh, North Carolina:
President Reagan is my hero in so many respects. He was a good man who was secure in everything that he did because he was guided by his belief in what was right. As teenagers, we looked to him to understand what was true and good. His sense of humor disarmed us, his words embraced us when we tried to understand devastating incidents like the Challenger accident, his strength and convictions gave us courage, his quest for freedom for all peoples helped us understand what it truly means to be an American, and his love of this great nation inspired us.
Duane Estel from Tampa Bay, Florida:
According to my grandmother, during the early 1930's while working at WHO radio in central Iowa, Ronald Reagan would lunch regularly at the small diner she owned in downtown Des Moines. One afternoon while sitting in his favorite booth he patiently watched as a drunken and abusive customer tormented my grandmother while she waited on him. After several minutes of witnessing her plight, he rose from his seat, walked over to the guy and told him to stop or they would discuss it outside. The guy immediately gulped his coffee and beat it for the door. After that, President Reagan was always a hero to my grandmother and then subsequently to me.
Gary M. King from Walpole, Maine:
President Reagan made a truly positive difference, not just in the workings of nations, but in the lives of so many individuals. At a time when we are being tested as individuals and a nation, his convictions, his leadership and his irrepressible spirit are a timely reminder that with hope, optimism and faith, good will always triumph. Thank you so very much, President Reagan.
Mary from Federal Way, Washington:
I've never met him. But when I was 7 years old I wrote a letter to President Reagan and a month later I got an 8x10 envelope in the mail with a letter from him (signed by him) and a lot of information about the White House. To this day it's one of the neatest things that I have ever received!
Ingo from New York, New York:
Much positive is being said about Mr. Reagan's involvement in "ending" the Cold War. However, it must not be forgotten, that it was his policy of supporting questionable regimes, e.g., in Chile, Afghanistan and especially in Iraq, that helped greatly to create the current polarized and unstable situation in the world.
Mary Zorn from Tyler, Texas:
Dare I say the Randy Quaid portrayal of President Reagan on "Saturday Night Live" was probably right on the mark...A kind, benevolent man on the outside and a tough as steel commander in chief on the inside!!! He truly saved the world from being dominated by Communism. That will be his greatest gift to Humankind. He was the right man at the right time.
Mike King from El Reno, Oklahoma:
1980 was the first presidential election I could vote in and I was proud to vote for Ronald Reagan. In 1981, following his inauguration, everyone in my MP platoon was doing a countdown, waiting for him to announce an attack on Iran to retrieve our hostages. When we got to three he announced all our people were freed.
Cliver E. Sanchez from Maracaibo, Venezuela:
Mrs. Reagan, The entire world mourns with you. "The best is yet to come" --Keep the faith.
David Ryan from Plainville, Connecticut:
I was a one of the members of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Honor Guard selected to participate in his second inauguration. As he passed by that day, I can still remember the feeling of strength and purpose that he exuded. A special man who truly changed the world. Thank you Mr. President.
Mila Bretos from San Diego, California:
Reagan was a myth created by the right wing and corporate media. The scary part is those most adversely affected by Reagan and his policies still don't know what happened. Under Reagan the U.S. became a debtor nation for the first time, huge consequences still being felt. The middle class shrunk dramatically under Reagan which threatens our whole democratic structure, politically and economically.
Suzanne Standerfer from Chicago, Illinois:
People are speaking of our loss, but I am grateful that our nation gained so much under the leadership of this great, good man. God bless him and his memory.
Kevin W. Johnson from Portsmouth, Ohio:
Every member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity appreciates Ronald Reagan's contributions to our membership. Long ago, during the presidency of President Nixon, I served as an aide to one of Florida's U.S. senators. My first chance to meet Ronald Reagan was at a typical political event. He was being introduced to various people and, when he came to me, I gave him our fraternity grip in shaking his hand and said, "A pleasure to meet you, Frater Reagan." His face beamed with genuine emotion. It was like he had met a long lost friend.
Jean Anne from Coldwater, Michigan:
My mother also had Alzheimer's and passed away in 1992. Even when she didn't recognize many people she had known for years she always surprised me by remembering Ronald Reagan. When they showed him on TV she would say things like, he was a movie actor and governor before he was president. To my mother he was the president until the day she died.
E. Farleigh from Diamond Point, New York:
My husband and I will always remember the day Ronald Reagan was elected president as it was also the day we moved into our new home with our 2-month-old baby daughter we adopted at age three days. She was the answer to many prayers for us and the day was filled with so much joy and excitement as we unloaded and unpacked our belongings after having gone to vote for Ronald Reagan. I will remember taking our daughter into the voting booth that day and telling her how blessed she was to be living in the United States of America.
Mao Yu from Shanghai, China:
From him I know what is America, what is the value of U.S. and what is U.S. And I even kept the speech of his farewell. Wish all the best to Mr. Reagan's family.
Ruth O'Neil from Old Town, Maine:
I worked on both President Reagan's campaigns and when he would send out the usual form letters to his workers, he always would cross out "Dear friend" and use my name and at the bottom of the letter was a little personal note. It was the same with the Reagans' Christmas card they always remembered and put that little personal touch. No one was too little for president and Mrs. Reagan. May the Lord bless Nancy as she goes through these next trying days. He will be missed.
Peter Pabon from Grover Beach, California:
I was in the Navy during Ron's administration. I remember the pride and admiration I had for him. How he instilled pride to be an American back then. I remember I was stationed in Little Creek, Va., when he got shot. I was upstairs and I saw a bunch of people gather around the TV. I could not believe it. I was so glad he made it. I remember thinking how could someone try to shoot the "Greatest" president that ever lived. Yesterday I cried when I heard Ron died. I will miss him very much.
Brent Gordy from Omaha, Nebraska:
It is extremely unfortunate that this president, who called for "less government" and more freedom for its citizens, did more to stifle reproductive choice and stem cell research than any in history. This very research could have helped him and thousands of others. This is how I will remember him.
Dr. Hank Fradella from Scottsdale, Arizona:
I may not have always agreed with his politics, but Reagan restored my pride in being an American. The world is a better place because he became our leader. History should remember him not just as the man who ended the Cold War, but also as one of the greatest American presidents of all time -- someone who inspired his country to come together and move forward bravely into a new era.
Mike Mclean from Medicine Hat, Alberta:
I hope that all of us will remember that the relationship that President Reagan had with Nancy was one of the great love stories of all time. I recall the scene when the president was returning from Reykjavik, Iceland, after one, I think the first, of his meetings with Gorbachev. There was Nancy, hands held close to her heart, girlish smile on her face, dancing from one foot to the other, just couldn't wait to see her husband. I have never before, nor do I expect to see again, such an honest, true, selfless display of love.
Melody Ness from Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
President Reagan's accomplishments positively influenced our nation and our world, but I will remember him most for the reassuring message he sent to the schoolchildren of the nation, including my two little boys, after the Challenger accident. He told them never to give up their dreams.