President Ronald Reagan wrote a stirring message for the Fourth of July in 1981 entitled What July Fourth Means To Me . Take it to heart, stir your soul and live it!
The days of Carter were the doldrums, a defeat, a depression, a day of hunkering down, of despair, doubt, disappointment, discouragement, dashed hopes, dead dreams. We lived in a national malaise. We were hesitant, overly cautious, fearful.
We thought we had to live with scarcity, scarcity of energy. Christmas lights were ordered snuffed out. Lighting displays in box stores were largely left unlit. Exuberance and delight took flight. Thermostats were turned down or up, depending on the season. When we struck a match, we were urged to let it burn as long as possible to add heat to our inadequately heated spaces. The doomsday of a new ice age and energy shortage was upon us. We survived with the misery index. Carter’s glum disposition was lived as if every day were April 15th.
For 444 days, the mighty USA was stymied, not by the Iranian hostage-takers, but by our own President’s dithering. We subsisted with failure. We marked time until the end of the Carter era. The mighty nation could not conceive and conduct a plan to free the 52 American hostages. Daring flew the White House coop.
But then daring flew the Iranian coop as a result of one change in America. Iran released the hostages just minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President on January 20, 1981. The Iranians never feared Carter for he was a craven weakling. They feared a-peace-through-strength-Reagan and therefore feared America.
On the other hand, Ronald Reagan was such a gentleman that he sent Carter to Germany to welcome the hostages and give some dignity to the miserably failed Carter.
America could sing again as the birds sing at the dawn of a new day. We could stand tall because an awful weight had been lifted from our shoulders. Carter was gone and Reagan was in. He brought hope, confident expectation, contentment and satisfaction. We could be proud again that we are American. Gone was morbidity. We could whistle with joy. We felt lighthearted. The misery index faded and the nation moved into the longest growth spell in peacetime history.
And we cheered when Reagan challenged, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" We cheered again when the Berliners tore down that wall. And this time, not just 52 were freed, but millions upon millions!
We had new confidence in all of life, nationally and individually, because of one man, President Ronald Wilson Reagan. We could look once again at ourselves and respect ourselves. Ronald Reagan lived as if every day were the Fourth of July. And so did we! Thank you Mr. President!