Ronald Reagan: 10 memorable quotes

Ronald Reagan, America’s 40th president, died on June 5, 2004, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. More than 25 years after leaving office, Reagan remains a towering figure, beloved by supporters and acknowledged as a president who left a lasting imprint on U.S. politics.

USA TODAY Network lists memorable quotes from “The Great Communicator” on the 10th anniversary of his death.

1. Goldwater support

A Democrat for much of his adult life, Reagan formally switched parties in the early 1960s. A week before the 1964 presidential election, Reagan delivered a televised address in support of Republican nominee Barry Goldwater. Goldwater would go on to lose to President Lyndon B. Johnson in a landslide, but the speech established Reagan as a rising GOP star. Two years later, he would be elected governor of California.

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

2. Debate with Carter

Reagan and President Jimmy Carter debated only once in 1980, but in their face-off, Reagan delivered a blistering rebuke of the incumbent administration with this line. Reagan would go on to win a decisive victory.

“Next Tuesday all of you will go to the polls. You’ll stand there in the polling place and make a decision. I think when you make that decision it might be well if you would ask yourself: Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

3. First inaugural

Reagan’s campaign for the presidency emphasized a domestic platform of lowering taxes and reducing the size of government. He distilled his brand of conservatism into this line from his first inaugural address:

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

4. Assassination attempt

A little more than two months after taking office, Reagan was the target of an assassination attempt by John Hinckley. The president was seriously injured in the shooting. Three other people were also wounded in the attack, including press secretary James Brady, who was left paralyzed.

Reagan managed to add a bit of levity to the moment while at the hospital in this remark to wife Nancy before going into surgery:

“Honey, I forgot to duck.”

Reagan also reportedly said to doctors at the hospital as he was heading into the operating room: “I hope you’re all Republicans.”

5. D-Day anniversary

On June 6, 1984, the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, Reagan paid tribute to the men who helped liberate Europe from Nazism. His speech, delivered at a memorial to Army rangers at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France, stands as one of Reagan’s most widely praised.

“These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. And these are the heroes who helped end a war.”

Read More at USA Today

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