Monday, February 06, 2017

Honoring President Reagan's 106th Birthday

As we mark President Ronald Reagan's 106th birthday on February 6, I'm transported back to a day during the fall of 1990. At that time I had the unique opportunity to spend much of a day with him as he visited his boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois. This turned out to be the last time he would travel there.

The original video is now housed at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. The following pictures were shot off of my TV screen from a video copy of the original material so the quality is diminished.

Along with the rest of the video crew, we were given Secret Service clearance for the day and we shadowed him where ever he went.

We began at the river where, as a lifeguard, he saved many lives. There he skipped stones on the river and talked about his experiences.
We walked up to the thirdfloor gym where he had played basketball. Mr. Reagan took a few shots from the free-throw line.

We covered him with video cameras as crowds pushed toward him and made the Secret Service people nervous. For most of the day, I was never more than inches or a few feet away from one of the greatest men I believe this country has ever had as its leader.
A group of schoolchildren recited the Pledge of Allegiance as he stood out in front of the house. He went to the garage in the back of the house and then on to the statute of himself.

Mr. Reagan spoke to a full house that had gathered in the high school gym. There he was presented with a letter jacket. He proceeded to the football field and threw passes to some of the team.

The most unique experience came when we traveled to the actual house. There we set up for the only video interview he gave that day while all the major news media assembled outside, and news helicopters hovered in the air. I was able to ask him a number of personal questions about growing up in that house.

Several weeks after the interview, President Reagan was kind enough to send me a personal letter of thanks.


Elaine Faber said...

What a wonderful memory. Sharing your story on my face book page. Elaine

max said...

Thank you Elaine