On February 4 and 5, Young America’s Foundation held an historic celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. Students, loyal Foundation supporters whose generosity made the event possible, and luminaries from the Conservative Movement gathered together for the gala event. Governor Sarah Palin and Vice President Dick Cheney headlined the weekend-long program as the keynote speakers for Friday and Saturday evenings, respectively. Their presence, combined with the celebration itself, led to the largest event held at the Reagan Ranch Center in Young America’s Foundation’s history. Overflow seating was opened up to accommodate more than 350 attendees at the Reagan Ranch Center.
Press from across the country vied for coveted spots in the main ballroom, with Fox News, C-SPAN, and CNN broadcasting Governor Palin’s and Vice President Cheney’s speeches live. Additional press reporting on the weekend included Time magazine, CBS News, New York Times, ABC Radio, AP, Bloomberg, Christian Broadcast Network, Politico, Reuters Photo, Santa Barbara News-Press, Los Angeles Times, Washington Examiner, Washington Times, and other outlets.
Prior to her evening address, Governor Palin and members of her family visited Rancho del Cielo with Young America’s Foundation President Ron Robinson, Vice Presidents Andrew Coffin and Kate Obenshain, and President Reagan’s close friend, riding partner, and retired Secret Service agent John Barletta.
During her rousing speech in the David Louis Bartlett Outreach Center, Governor Palin reflected on her afternoon at the Western White House:
I cannot tell you how really humbling this is for my family and for me to get to be here. Today, out at the Ranch, it was simply overwhelming and inspiring…There we were riding horses along the trails that he had cleared, feeling the breeze in my face, being able to feel that warm southern air overhead...I knew instantly why Ronald Reagan loved that Ranch. I knew instantly why it was he felt so inspired in that place.
The Ranch is unmistakably the home of a western conservative who celebrated our pioneering spirit.
Today, there are hundreds of places that bear his name, but the Ranch is one of the few where truly, when you are there, you can distinctly feel his spirit. This is his home of course. This home was his refuge—his still point in a turning world.
Young America’s Foundation was also honored to welcome Reagan administration alumni, including Attorney General Ed Meese, Frank Donatelli, T. Kenneth Cribb, Judge Bill Clark, and Michelle Easton for the program.
Other special guests included authors who have written extensively on President Reagan: Peter Schweizer, Lee Edwards, Lou Cannon, Wynton Hall, and Craig Shirley. Best-selling novelist Brad Thor, movie director Stephen K. Bannon, talk radio host Mark Larson, Foundation Director and Washington State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur, the Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, and President Reagan’s close friends Dennis LeBlanc and John Barletta also participated in the weekend’s events.
Surprise guest and occasional Reagan-nemesis Sam Donaldson arrived at the gate to Rancho del Cielo in hopes of being able to commemorate the anniversary. He was greeted by Foundation President Ron Robinson who noted that Donaldson’s presence was a testimony to President Reagan’s broad appeal, both as an individual and a visionary.
As part of the Reagan 100 Celebration Weekend, Young America’s Foundation also welcomed more than 40 students from across the country to learn how they can become stronger activists on their respective college campuses.
The Summit to Restore Freedom on Campus, sponsored and attended by Bill and Nan Bensyl, drew students from Furman University (South Carolina), Santa Fe College (Florida), Indiana University, DePaul University (Illinois), the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of California, Los Angeles, and other campuses nationwide. Participants attended the Reagan 100 Celebration panels and dinners and also gained valuable campus activism advice from Foundation President Ron Robinson, Foundation Director Peter Schweizer, Vice Presidents Kate Obenshain and Patrick Coyle, and Reagan Ranch Board of Governors member Mark Larson.
The weekend concluded with the screening of Young America’s Foundation’s inaugural film, Still Point in a Turning World: Ronald Reagan and His Ranch (see related story above)—which Governor Palin referenced in her speech.
The Reagan 100 Celebration Weekend provided an inspiring and memorable weekend for all involved, and Young America’s Foundation especially thanks the supporters who made the weekend’s events possible.
To view videos from the Reagan 100 Weekend Celebration, visit www.yaf.org
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