Reflections of Reagan

Dan Schneider, ACU’s executive director, writes:

While cleaning out our Conservative Political Action Conference file room, our CPAC Director discovered a fantastic photo of President Reagan shaking hands with a little girl. The photo was taken at CPAC just after Reagan had been sworn in as President in 1981.  Realizing that the photo was the original, I knew the pictured girl never got her incredible keepsake!  Staff at the American Conservative Union immediately launched a nationwide effort to track down the mystery girl.  We posted the photo to Facebook and Twitter.  We sent emails to our grassroots network.  And we contacted our board members to see if they could help identify her.  I wasn???t sure if we would be able to find her. But I also feared the horrible prospect that in the intervening years she might have become a liberal!

To my surprise, Accuracy in Media???s Don Irvine saw the post and identified the little girl (now woman!) in the photograph as Yolanda Yoh-Bucher, the daughter of AIM???s co-founder.  Yolanda is a great success story.  She is the CCO/Editor-in-Chief of NewBeauty Magazine in Florida and remains a true conservative to this day.

Yolanda very kindly responded to our request for a new photo and commentary on her experience meeting President Reagan.  Her story is so touching, we decided to give her a CPAC ticket to the conference next February as well as the very first lifetime membership to ACU.

This is what she had to say of her incredible experience, meeting Ronald Reagan back in 1981:


My dad always said that there were certain people who were lucky and those lucky people usually got all of their wishes granted. To his great delight, it turned out I was one of those people.

As a little girl living in the D.C. area, my parents and I often drove by the White House. On one of those occasions, I burst out: ???I WISH I could meet the president.”

Exactly one week later, my wish came true.

My father was one of the founding members of Accuracy in Media, so much of my childhood was spent hearing him speak at various events around the country. One such event was the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 1981, when President Ronald Reagan was the keynote speaker.

At that CPAC, my mom took me off the floor of the convention to play in the hotel halls, as any child would want to do. It was because of this decision that I ended up meeting Ronald Reagan.

As my mom tells the story, a hotel worker lost control of a cart of chairs that almost fell on me. Understandably, this made my mother very upset. It just so happened that the chief of the Secret Service for the president was also checking out the hotel for the evening???s gala. Hearing my distraught mother, he came over to investigate.

Most likely it was the enormous Reagan button that really got the attention of the Secret Service agent. (It nearly covered my entire chest!). To my amazement, the agent bent down and asked, ???Hey, would you like to meet the president????

I remember the hours of waiting for President Ronald Reagan to arrive. I was excited but also tired after waiting for what seemed like an eternity. I remember the security checks my parents had to go through to be cleared to join me. I remember how distressed my mother was that we were wearing casual day clothes while the president and Mrs. Reagan would be wearing black tie attire.

Even at this young age, I had listened to his speeches. I was in awe of this very dynamic and powerful man. But as Ronald Reagan bent down to shake my hand, with his genuine, kind smile and twinkle in his eye, he put all my nerves at ease and I knew for sure that I was meeting a truly special man.

I feel blessed to have met one of history???s greatest presidents. The photo of him shaking my hand that day is one of my most prized possessions. It sits in a place of honor on a table in my home ??? a reminder of a little girl???s wish that came true.