"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free." - President Ronald Reagan
Saturday, January 21, 2017
The Beauty of Peaceful Transitions
We will get back to the partisan battle zones soon but let me share a memory of an important inauguration.
Inauguration Day is a very special day that transcends partisanship. Mr. Trump spoke the same words that every new president has spoken since George Washington in 1789. It is an awesome example of continuity and peaceful transition. It is so rare in world history that it leaves you astonished, especially those of us who grew up in places where this does not happen.
For many of us, Ronald Reagan will always be that special politician who made us conservatives. It was certainly my case when I became one of those young Reagan troops fighting for the 1976 nomination. (I still have a Reagan ’76 bumper sticker in a box in my garage) Maybe Reagan ’76 for us was what Goldwater ’64 may have been to the previous generation.
The Reagan troops were back on the field in 1980 when Governor Reagan sought the presidency again.
A few days after his landslide victory, my employer put me on a plane to Mexico to be a part of their office down there. South of the border, I followed all of the transition on the U.S. television programs that we got in Mexico City as well as Armed Forces Radio, the shortwave signal that used to go out to the soldiers overseas. We also got daily delivery of several U.S. newspapers that kept us in tune with the columnists and editorials of the time.
On inauguration Day, I woke up in Monterrey, Mexico and joined up with a group of senior executives from our U.S. headquarters who were down to look at our operations.
After breakfast, we drove to see a customer in Saltillo, a quiet industrial town about two hours west of Monterrey.
A few minutes before noon eastern time, I asked permission to tune in WOAI from San Antonio, a powerful AM station that can be heard in the north of Mexico. (In fact, I used to pick up Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys games on that station at night during my time in Mexico)
So there we were in the middle of nowhere listening to the whole ceremony on the radio. The highway between Monterrey and Saltillo was really desolate with very little traffic or any kind of life.
A few minutes before noon, Mr. Bush became VP Bush.
Around noon, Governor Reagan became President Reagan.
It made it more fun when my guests cheered when Mr. Reagan said “so help me God”. The whole car broke into applause and cheers. I was delighted to hear how these men were thrilled that a new man was in charge.
I remember the moment as if it happened yesterday. It’s one of those moments that sticks with you. God bless peaceful transitions!