Ronald Reagan once said, “While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.” It’s because I believe in America's future that I take such inspiration from our past. We just visited Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Dixon, Illinois. This beautiful small town along the Rock River is where Reagan learned the values that shaped him – the same values that have historically made America strong – thrift, hard work, fortitude, optimism, and courage in the face of adversity.
As a nation, we must reconnect with those values if we’re to truly restore all that is good and strong about the USA. Meeting the fine Americans in this small town on the river where Reagan saved 77 lives brought all this home for me.
Thanks to the wonderful volunteers who keep Reagan's memory alive. The restoration and tours of our beloved President's home are significant. Thank you, Dixon!
- Sarah Palin
P.S.: Allow me to share below the piece I wrote for USA Today’s special commemorative edition on President Reagan’s Centennial:
I had the privilege of coming of age during the era of Ronald Reagan. I like to think of him as America's lifeguard. As a teenager, Ronald Reagan saved 77 lives as a lifeguard on the Rock River, which ran through his hometown of Dixon, Ill. The day he was inaugurated in 1981, a local radio announcer famously declared, "The Rock River flows for you tonight, Mr. President."
The image of the lifeguard seems to represent what Reagan was to America and to the freedom-loving people of the world. He lifted our country up at a time when we were in the depths of economic, cultural and spiritual malaise. We were told that we must accept that the era of American greatness was over; but with his optimism and common sense, President Reagan held up a mirror to the American soul to remind us of our exceptionalism.
Reagan showed us that despite a deep recession, there could still be morning in America. He could speak to the economic troubles facing ordinary Americans because he understood what it was like to live through a Great Depression where families scraped to get by. And yet, he saw us recover from our Great Depression, and under his leadership we experienced the greatest peacetime economic boom in our history. He could speak to our fears that our years as a superpower were over, because he understood what it was like to see America at war and really fear that we might lose. And yet, he saw us win two world wars, and under his leadership we won the Cold War without firing a single shot. Reagan's belief in American greatness was rooted in historic fact, not blind optimism. He was a sunny optimist because he knew that our best days are yet to come.
Today, when we hear the worry in the voices of Americans wondering where the jobs will be for our children and grandchildren and wondering if the world will be safe and prosperous in the years to come, we should remember Reagan's faith in our inherent heroism and greatness. When we see people around the globe looking to the White House for leadership, we should remember Reagan's steel spine. He understood America's purpose in this world and what we need to do to secure liberty. As Margaret Thatcher said of him, "He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism." He sought those things and he succeeded.
This year, as we celebrate the centennial of Reagan's birth, let's remember the lifeguard from the Rock River who rescued us with his optimism and common sense. We need more lifeguards like him.
Photo: Alex NBC News