Monday, April 03, 2006

Reagan's Finest Hour remembered

This past Thursday, March 30, I noted the 25th anniversary of the failed assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, who had taken office only 10 weeks previously. I remember the day well. I was a first-year law student at the time, and was having lunch in the BYU cafeteria with an old missionary buddy when one of my classmates interrupted our conversation to tell me the news. I skipped the rest of my classes for the day, and spent the entire afternoon riveted to a television set in the old Memorial Lounge in the Wilkinson Center, watching the late Frank Reynolds of ABC as he anchored the network's coverage of this latest in a long string of national traumas. At first it was thought that Reagan had escaped injury, and I remember the look of shock and horror on Reynolds's face as he was handed a report confirming the worst.

Or not quite the worst. It must have been a couple of hours after that when Reynolds told his viewers that Reagan, while on the operating table and about to be put under anesthesia, had quipped to his surgical team, "I hope you're all Republicans!" As I recorded later that evening in my journal, at that moment I knew the President was going to survive and recover. And did he ever, as later events attest.

I am posting this a few days after the anniversary because it is only today that I have found an appropriate link to include with my own reflections. Read this piece in National Review, which says what needs to be said about this event far better than I could express it myself.

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