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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

From Vision to Reality: Reagan's Road to Freedom Celebrates Anniversaries

25 years since President Reagan laid out the freedom agenda that saw democracy, prosperity and freedom race around the world!

President Reagan addressing British Parliament in London, England. 6/8/82.
Larger image here.

25 years ago In an address to the British Parliament on June 8, 1982, President Reagan dared to call evil by it's name. In that famous speech he outlined his vision for a better world: "If history teaches anything it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly" he warned. But that was just the warm up. He went on to say "we see totalitarian forces in the world who seek subversion and conflict around the globe to further their barbarous assault on the human spirit" and "freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few, but the inalienable and universal right of all human beings. " Sound familiar?

With that foundation of freedom as a universal right he came to the high point of the speech: "the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people."

President Reagan was broadly attacked by the left and the appeasers who cowered from the bristling Soviet nuclear arsenal and who protested across Europe and the United States against Reagan the warmonger. Interestingly, the left never protested against Soviet nuclear sabre rattling!

20 years ago today! "Tear Down This Wall!"

President Reagan refused to back down from his vision and determination to free the world of the threat posed by the Cold War. Five years after his speech in London he went to Berlin on June 12, 1987 and stood before the Berlin Wall. The speech he intended to give and the words he spoke were resisted by National Security officials in his own Administration. Drafts of the speech that were circulated to the staff came back to the President with a request he tone it down. Again, he refused.

He delivered the speech that best matched his vision and commitment to freedom. History has rightly judged the act as a supreme moment in the progress of freedom and peace.


An audio excerpt of the speech here:

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A video excerpt here.
Full text with full audio link here.

Two years later the Wall fell at the hands of Germans who clambored over it, not with hammers and sickles, but hammers and chisels. The Wall fell and Germany was reunited in a Europe that was finally "whole and free." Now, the former captive nations are among the strongest allies of the United States, standing with us in NATO and also in Iraq and Afghanistan.

None of that would have been possible without the vision and leadership of the United States under President Reagan. It's a shining example of the great things we can do, which might seem impossible at the time, if only we are willing to overcome the fears and obstacles presented by current political process which always seeks short term political power over great achievement.

Remembering

Many events around the country will mark this anniversary. President Bush, following up on his speech in Prague where he cited the residue of communism which still afflicts people around the world spoke today at the dedication for the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Reagan Ranch Center, run by the Young America's Foundation is hosting Michael Medved who will interview Peter Robinson, the White House speechwriter who worked with President Reagan and helped assure the famous line "tear down this wall" remained in the speech.
Medved will post the audio of this program here.

Let's not forget the lesson which both history and President Reagan taught us: Freedom is the objective of all mankind. And peace is the dividend of allowing that goal to be realized!

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