The Reagan Centennial Celebration
A Super Sunday…
It’s Super Bowl Sunday! A big party day across the country. As a Chiefs fan I usually cheer on the AFC teams, so I’ll probably back the Steelers this year.
Today is also a very special day for another reason. I’m sure you’ve heard the past few days about the celebration of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday. Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney were two of the speakers for the festivities this weekend. President Reagan touched everyone. He is now one of the most admired presidents we’ve had.
1st Inductee into Badger’s AmeriCAN Hall of Fame:
He was a transformational leader with charm and grace. He had amazing wit and humor. His humble beginnings in Illinois to his time at WHO radio in Des Moines, his days in Hollywood, the "time for choosing" speech, challenging Republican leadership, turning around the nation’s economy, comforting our nation during disaster, ending the Cold War, and his last days on his loved ranch…He lived a great American life! He’s exactly what I look for each month when I put together the AmeriCANS/CANTS for each month. For those reasons he is the first inductee into my AmeriCANS Hall of Fame. You might recall that recently I announced the winners for the AmeriCANS/CANTS of 2010. The new Hall of Fame will be for historical figures, with selections done three times each year – Reagan’s birthday, Independence Day, and New Years Eve. I’ll have more about that on the show this week.
The Benson-Reagan Letter Story
I also wanted to pass along a personal story I have with President Reagan. In 1980 Reagan made a stop at the Marshall County Courthouse (Marshalltown, Iowa) during the presidential campaign. At the stop a two year old boy was placed on his lap for a photo-opt. That kid was me! My parents also invited Reagan to speak at the family farm.
Unfortunately the photo did not turn out. And unfortunately Reagan was unable to speak at the farm. However, he did receive word of the botched photo and sent my parents a nice letter along with an autographed picture addressed to me. Today both items sit in frames in my office. Everything that I am doing today can be traced back to the inspiration that I take from that letter and the knowledge of one of our most important leaders taking the time to address an Iowa farm family. Reagan’s historical accomplishments stand on their own. But it was the simple acts like the letter to Rod and Sherry Benson that made this man so loved by his countrymen.
Last spring I put together a promotional video when I started my show. It contains a reading of the letter done by our family friend, Postmaster Bob Nusbaum from State Center, Iowa. The Reagan Letter video. You can hear the show featuring the Reagan Letter story here.
Also here is the scanned copy of the letter. I was fortunate about 10 years ago to meet Michael Reagan at the Iowa State Fair and he signed the newspaper article about the young Benson and his father back in 1980.