MOURNING THE PASSING OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN -- (House of Representatives - June 09, 2004)
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Mrs. BONO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of our Nation's greatest Presidents and a fellow Californian, President Ronald W. Reagan.
A child of America's heartland, he became a man of the west. A towering presence, he gained fame as a movie star and entertainer before turning his considerable gifts to public service. A man of great wit, faith, optimism, conviction and conscience, he believed fervently in the good of all men but especially the American people.
It was from his unwavering faith and from the people, first in his adopted state of California and later throughout the nation, that he drew his great strength. A natural leader, he commanded respect and loyalty from all who had the honor of serving with him. President Reagan brought grace and dignity to the high office he held, always treating those around him with respect and kindness. He never lost his connection to the working people and spoke to all Americans with such clarity and honesty that he will be forever known as "the great communicator."
Along with his beloved wife, Nancy, President Reagan was a frequent visitor to the Palm Springs area which I have the honor of representing in Congress. The Reagans frequently spent New Year's Eve with their dear friends, Ambassador and Mrs. Walter Annenberg, enjoying the relaxing desert environment and a friendly round of golf. A playground for movie stars and Presidents, the Palm Springs community was a welcome haven from the hectic world of celebrity and politics. The Reagans had many local friends and contacts, and the Palm Springs area was and still remains Reagan country.
As someone who has always said that it is perhaps harder to be the spouse than the individual holding elected office, First Lady Nancy Reagan was a reservoir of strength for the President throughout their remarkable life together. His most fervent supporter and staunchest defender, Nancy deserves our recognition and thanks for her role in this most American story.
President Reagan's many achievements are now part of our Nation's proud history, and the contributions he made ensured a safer world and a brighter future for the American people. History will recall that his words helped bring down the walls that kept the people of the Soviet Union oppressed and isolated from the freedom of the west. His economic policies and the strength of his convictions laid the foundation for the greatest economic boom in America in the "American century." But, the history lessons will never be able to convey the sense of purpose and pride he instilled in our nation through the sheer strength of his spirit and the optimism of his words.
We owe this remarkable American a tremendous debt of gratitude. His leadership redefined the political landscape in our country and energized our people with purpose and hope. To paraphrase the poet, "we shall not soon see his like again."
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of California's 45th district, I extend my deepest sympathy and condolences to First Lady Nancy Reagan, their children and the entire Reagan family. I have no doubt that President Reagan has seen his faith rewarded as he goes to his rest. May God Bless President Ronald Reagan.
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