June 5th, 2004



This evening, as the news channels carried one story after another about the passing of former President Reagan, I realized just how much he shaped my ideas of what a president should be.

The first election I remember paying attention to was in 1980, when I was in 8th grade and Reagan was campaigning against President Carter. We eighth graders held our own election in the classroom; I don't remember who won. But I do remember learning about the electoral process.

I remember the fuss when Hinckley tried to assassinate him. People tried to tell me that I would always remember where I was when I heard...and I might have if he had died, but he didn't and I don't.

I remember his voice addressing the nation when the Challenger exploded. Now that I remember clearly. Classes for the rest of the afternoon were forgotten as I stared at the small black and white tv in my dorm room.

He was the first President whose orders I swore to obey. For that alone, I've considered driving up to Santa Monica to pay my respects.

So many things happened during his two terms, some wonderful and some terrible--but he was my President.

We all made the jokes, of course. No President is free of them. But when they announced that he had Alzheimer's, I was sad that he'd forget all of his memories.

I hope that he has found peace.