Thursday, June 08, 2006

All The Way to the Hangar, Mr. President!

Although there are a lot of critical issues in the headlines that are worthy of discussion and analysis, I've found my life occupied by more pressing issues and responsibilities of late.

I've also found the usual political catfighting to be a little more than I can stomach lately given the various other demands on my time. As regular readers of this blog know, I don't have the stamina of a Michelle Malkin or a Glenn Reynolds, so when the rhetoric gets too pathetic, I stop and regroup.

I can't let the week pass by, however, without remembering President Ronald Reagan who died two years ago June 5th. My friend in blogdom, John in Carolina, reminded me of the following exchange (subscription required) between President Reagan and former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger that has long been one of my favorites:

One of Cap Weinberger's favorite stories about Ronald Reagan concerned the American conflict with Libya over the Gulf of Sidra in August 1981. Weinberger and the military brass were sitting down with the president as the U. S. Navy moved toward the region. There were fears of combat in the skies.

Weinberger asked the president what the orders would be if the Libyans fired on U. S. aircraft and returned to Tripoli. "What about hot pursuit? How far can we go?"

"All the way to the hangar," Reagan responded.

President Ronald W. Reagan sure had a way with words and an ability to communicate exactly what was on his mind while leaving little room for misinterpretation. "All the way to the hangar" pretty much summed up his intentions in six words and there was little doubt exactly what those six words meant.

I think those six words can also be used to describe the man as well. Everything he did was "All the way to the hangar". It really didn't matter whether someone agreed with him or not, they knew exactly where he stood and exactly what he planned to do about it.

The death of President Reagan, while merciful for both himself and his family, left a hole in my heart that to this day remains unfilled. I've often said that I just felt better knowing that he was still around, and I truly meant it.

I always held out hope that if things got too bad, the Gipper would give Nancy a tip of the Stetson, saddle up his favorite horse, throw the spurs to her, and ride full gallop to Washington to straighten things out.

Of course I knew better, but it sure put my mind at ease to think of him in this way instead of dwelling on the dreadful disease that slowly consumed him. I'll always believe that although his mind left him, his heart never did.

It is my belief that true greatness and conviction comes from the heart. For my money, no one who ever lived had a bigger heart or loftier goals than did Ronald Wilson Reagan and it is my doubt that anyone ever will.

He indeed gave his all and took it all the way to the hangar. It is a lofty goal to which we all should aspire.

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