The Ronald Reagan We Will Remember

Feb. 6, 1911

  • Born in Tampico, Ill.: Born second son of Jack and Nelle Reagan. His father declares: “He looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be President some day.”


  • Saves Seventy-Seven Lives: Saves 77 lives as lifeguard at Lowell Park on Rock River in Dixon, Ill.


  • Earns Degree in Economics: Earns bachelor’s degree in social science and economics from Eureka College.


  • George Gipp, All American: Plays Notre Dame halfback George Gipp in Knute Rockne–All American.


  • President of Screen Actors Guild: Elected to first of six terms as president of Screen Actors Guild, where he supports keeping Communists out of movie industry and helps those who renounce Communist Party membership.


  • Subscribes to HUMAN EVENTS: Begins more than three decades as avid HUMAN EVENTS subscriber.


  • Registers as Republican: Campaigns for Nixon’s gubernatorial race in California.

    Oct. 27, 1964

  • Speaks for Goldwater: Delivers wildly popular TV address, “A Time for Choosing,” backing Barry Goldwater.

    Nov. 8, 1966

  • Elected California Governor: Defeats California Gov. Edmund (Pat) Brown by a million votes.

    August 1970

  • Pursues Welfare Reform: Appoints Robert Carleson to design welfare reform program that saves California from bankruptcy and thwarts Nixon’s plan to federalize welfare. Program becomes model for historic 1996 federal welfare reform.

    Nov. 3, 1970

  • Re-elected Governor: Defeats Assembly Speaker Jesse Unruh to win second term.


  • Almost Unseats Ford: Upsets President Ford in North Carolina and eight other primaries and only narrowly loses nomination.

    February 8, 1978

  • Opposes Panama Canal Giveaway: Gives televised speech opposing President Carter’s Panama Canal treaties.

    Jan. 9, 1980

  • Anti-Soviet Reagan Doctrine: Calls for arming anti-Soviet insurgents in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    February 1980

  • Beats Bush in New Hampshire: Following loss to George H.W. Bush in Iowa, wins New Hampshire after angrily declaring, “I’m paying for this microphone,” when a newspaper editor switches off sound system at debate to which Reagan invited other GOP candidates.

    March 20, 1980

  • Peace Through Strength: Campaigns for strategic arms buildup. “Once we clearly demonstrate to the Soviet leadership that we are determined to compete, arms control negotiations will again have a chance.”

    July 15, 1980

  • No Pale Pastels Platform: Approves GOP platform that declines to endorse Equal Rights Amendment or gun control, but backs military superiority over Soviets, Kemp-Roth tax cut, school prayer, pro-life judges, and human life amendment.

    Nov. 4, 1980

  • Elected President: Defeats President Carter by 489 to 49 electoral votes.

    Jan. 29, 1981

  • Soviets Know No Morality: Says in first press conference that Soviets seek “one-world Socialist or Communist state” and “reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat, in order to attain that.”

    March 20, 1981

  • Addresses CPAC: In his first speech as President to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, says: “Just as surely as we seek to put our financial house in order and rebuild our nation’s defenses, so too we seek to protect the unborn, to end the manipulation of schoolchildren by utopian planners and permit the acknowledgement of a Supreme Being in our classrooms.”

    March 30, 1981

  • Survives Assassination Attempt: Survives assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr., telling surgeon just before he undergoes anesthesia: “I hope you’re a Republican.”

    Aug. 3, 1981

  • Fires Air Traffic Controllers: Fires striking air traffic controllers who ignore his warning to return to work.

    Aug. 13, 1981

  • Signs Tax Cut: Signs historic 25% tax cut at Rancho del Cielo, calling it “a turnaround of almost a half a century of a course this country has been on.”

    Dec. 15, 1981

  • Defends El Salvador: Announces plan to train 1,500 Salvadoran soldiers to counter Soviet-backed rebels.

    March 8, 1983

  • Cites ‘Evil Empire’: Speaking to National Association of Evangelicals, warns liberals not “to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire.”

    March 23, 1983

  • Strategic Defense Initiative” Commits nation to developing missile defense. “What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack?”

    April 27, 1983

  • Requests Contra Aid: Condemning Sandinistas as Marxist dictators “helping Cuba and the Soviets to destabilize our hemisphere,” Reagan asks Congress to aid Nicaraguan freedom fighters.

    Oct. 25, 1983

  • Liberates Grenada: Orders raid to rescue U.S. medical students, oust Soviet-backed government on Grenada.

    November 1983

  • Deploys Pershing Missiles: Bucks demonstrations in Europe, nuclear freeze movement at home, to deploy Pershing II and cruise missiles in Europe when Soviets refuse to remove their previously deployed intermediate-range missiles.

    Dec. 29, 1983

  • Withdraws From UNESCO: Removes U.S. from United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization because it “has exhibited hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society.”

    Nov. 6, 1984:

  • Reelected in Landslide: Wins record 525-to-13 Electoral College victory over Walter Mondale.

    Jan. 8, 1985

  • Celebrates HUMAN EVENTS’ 40th: Hosts White House reception for 300 to celebrate HUMAN EVENTS’ 40th anniversary.

    Nov. 19, 1985

  • Confronts Gorbachev at Geneva: Has summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva, telling him: “We can agree to reduce arms–or we can continue the arms race, which I think you know you can’t win.”

    Jan. 28, 1986

  • Inspires Nation After Challenger Disaster: Reaffirms U.S. commitment to space exploration after Challenger explodes. “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted. It belongs to the brave.”

    April 14, 1986

  • Bombs Libya: Bombs Libya in retaliation for Berlin bombing that killed two U.S. soldiers. “When our citizens are abused or attacked anywhere in the world, on the direct orders of a hostile regime, we will respond, so long as I’m in this Oval Office.”

    Oct. 12, 1986

  • Leaves Reykjavik: Stalks out of arms control summit at Reykjavik, Iceland, after Gorbachev demands U.S. drop SDI in exchange for nuclear arms reductions.

    June 12, 1987

  • Tear Down This Wall: Ignoring advice of White House “moderates,” declares at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

    Dec. 8, 1987

  • Signs INF Treaty: Signs Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Gorbachev, banning type of nuclear missile for first time.

    Nov. 9, 1989

  • Berlin Wall Falls: Berlin Wall falls ten months after Reagan leaves office.

    Nov. 5, 1994

  • Farewell Letter to Nation: Addresses a hand-written letter to the nation revealing he has Alzheimer’s disease, saying he has begun “the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life.”