tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN March 25, 2022 8:42pm-9:35pm EDT
i like to start by making sure we first give another great round of applause to the tiger squadron for that terrific flower. for those i've not had the chance to meet. my name is john highbush, and i'm the executive director of the ronald reagan presidential foundation and institute. thank you so much for joining us on this slightly windy day as we celebrate what would have been ronald reagan's 111th birthday? i've said before as president reagan would have quipped the 72nd anniversary of 39th birthday. today is an especially wonderful day. because last year on president reagan's 110th birthday. we were still under some very
strict covid lockdown guidelines and had to celebrate the moment without an audience. it is terrific to have all of you. here with us today. our 40th president on this extraordinary day. this is also the last birthday celebration for president reagan that i will preside over given. i'll be moving on next month. but i have to say it has been a distinct honor to share this day with many of you these past 12 years. commemorating president reagan's life and legacy each year alongside those who wear the uniform of the united states marine. corps has been one of the highlights of my career.
president reagan once said something that's fitting for birthdays. he's quote. there is no purpose more noble than for us to sustain and celebrate life. we have no higher duty no greater cause as humans. life and the preservation of freedom to live an indignity is what we are here on earth to do. so let's get on with celebrating his life before we begin our formal program. i'd like to recognize a few of our special guests with us today, and i love introducing this couple because they meant so much to see me valley in this area former congressman eltingly in his wife janice elton janice. and absolutely wonderful to have them here michael reagan and his entire family. he's representing three generations. i think michael and of course a
special thank you again to all of the men and women here today from the united states marine corps at camp pendleton. we are honored to have the support of our fighting men and women. from such a vital military installation on behalf of everyone here and i'm sure all americans. thank you for your service. and now on to today's program in honor of the 111th birthday of ronald wilson reagan. ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the march on the colors the playing of our national anthem and the invocation by captain wayne mcrae are chaplain
to a deep love and longing for the nation that you chose him to lead. as a parent cares for their children, so president reagan cared for us. he understood people in communicated to our deeper longings. he saw that part of us that you lord god had made for deeper relationships. as president reagan once said there is a hunger in this country today. a hunger for spiritual guidance people yearn once again to be proud of their country. and proud of themselves and have confidence in themselves. rightfully, so lord god he phrased this is a hunger for spiritual guidance. that is part of how you have made us. not only do we need for connection with each other. but as president reagan understood we need connection with you.
we thank you for the memory and legacy of your servant president ronald reagan. and we thank you and ask you for your blessing. upon our remembrance and upon our nation amen please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, the commanding general of marine corps base camp pendleton brigadier general jason woodworth thank you, mr. high bush. just want to recognize very quickly miss peggy noonan ma'am. thank you for being here today mr. reagan and family. thank you for spending your day with us this morning. it's truly privilege to be here with you today as we recognize the 111th birthday of our 40th president. the honorable ronald reagan on
behalf of all the marines and sailors on the west coast. thank you for inviting us to participate. today representing your marine corps and navy team. we have the first marine division band. who sound absolutely incredible today. thank you staff sergeant. and under one of the hardest conditions. i've seen for a color guard the marine corps air station camp pendleton color guard or well done marines. when they save wave they meant wave on the flag today. and headquarters and support battalions with us to assist in honoring for the president in 1986. president reagan said during his speech at marine corps air station cherry point the world looks to america for leadership. and america looks to its armed forces to their corporations. as you can see before you today some things never change. thank you to all the marines and
sailors who are here in tendons. the marines value one thing the most it's leadership. particularly during times of crisis president reagan began his term first term with international crisis and diversity. as commander in chief he know exactly how and went to use the nation's armed forces as part of his vision to enhance american strength and reassure allies through the use of both hard and soft power. during operation urgent fury and grenada marines were given the dual role of not only securing their fort by force. but also rescuing american university students during the conflict multiple missions simultaneously the message. we'll use force one necessary, but we will never leave an american our brothers or sisters behind.
reagan mourned with the nation when marines died in the bombing of beirut while securing peace in the region flag with terrorism and despotism. when reagan needed to defend democracy in honduras against cuban and soviet incursion, once again, he called on the marines. his vision was his foundation he stuck to it his ability to communicate communicate much due to wonderful people like ms. noonan this vision and his ability to lead a nation during times of crisis or what led to the success of the reagan area. and of course the influence of the magnificent nancy reagan his incredible wife. when president reagan left office the us was postured for the cold war's end. we projected power worldwide through a robust military and strong diplomatic policy. his leadership exemplified honorable integrity moral courage and commitment to a vision of the united states and these are qualities any person
who hopes to lead would do well to emulate and we try to instill in the ranks of of our armed services. today camp pendleton is a pristine example of what president reagan loved so much about southern california. it serves as the west coast premier fleet marine force training base. marines continue to demonstrate qualities of strong robust national defense the reagan worked so hard to maintain during his presidency. and today more than ever cultural regional and generational gaps continue to drive narratives modern technology allows these narratives to grow roots and for some that might signal and uncertain future. and perhaps our parents or grandparents felt uncertain about our generation and how we would shape the future, but when i go to work each day and see these marines and sailors aboard camp panel and trained together and stand and prepare for a battle. i know that our values of honor courage can hit commitment have not diminished. president reagan understood that he spent his time in office knowing that the traditions and values of america would endure
and as he said and as engraved on his gravestone over here to my right what is right will always eventually triumph? throughout his life president reagan worked to ensure the future of gent america for to come though imperfect. america remains a beacon on the hill for others around the world for the oppressed and disadvantages. looking at the men and women here today if the service members who wear the cloth of our nation and particularly all of you supporting an honoring the ronald reagan. i think this legacy is secured on behalf of the marines and sailors installations west i extend a very sincere. thank you to the president ronald or the ronald reagan presidential library for allowing us to join you here today, sir, happy birthday you all. thank you so much general. here at the reagan library. we are dedicated to the
preservation and promotion of ronald reagan's legacy. he was known for many things among them fighting for freedom and democracy. restoring national pride shrinking our tax burden and the role of government in our lives. and peace through strength when it comes to our national defense. through it all they called him the great communicator. he remarked on this and his farewell address to the nation in january of 1989. he said and i quote. i want a nickname the great communicator. but i never thought it was my style or the words. i used that made a difference. it was the content. i wasn't a great communicator, but i communicated great things. they didn't spring full bloom from my brow. they came from the heart of a great nation from our experience
our wisdom and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. helping president reagan communicates such great things were a handful of standout speech writers on his staff. who are able to take his thoughts and ideas and work with him? put such pros on paper. one such remarkably talented speech writer who wrote for president reagan during the heart of his presidency was peggy noonan. as his speech writer and assistant to the president. peggy crafted for ronald reagan some of the most memorable addresses of his presidency. his unforgettable speech before the voice of hawk at normandy in 1984 to mark the 40th anniversary of d-day. his soothing and soaring words that moved to nation forward
following the space shuttle challenger disaster in 1986. through these speeches and more peggy displayed a mastery of her craft. it would come as no surprise a surprise to no one that in her years following the reagan presidency as a columnist for the wall street journal. she won the pulitzer prize for commentary it has been a real privilege to serve at the reagan foundation these past 12 years one that has led to so many incredible opportunities and unforgettable moments without a doubt one of those has been to get to know and work alongside peggy in her role as a trustee foundation and institute. her guidance and wisdom as a board member has ensured the preservation of president reagan's legacy in a meaningful
and thought-provoking way and been a major factor in the foundation's growth and success. among her many contributions that he was instrumental in the creation of the reagan institute in washington, dc and our popular time for choosing speakers series at which she'll be speaking on the future of the republican party tomorrow night. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcome the remarkable peggy noonan. thank you. welcome, welcome welcome. to all of you up front to those in the back. i thank you all it is very good to be here on this beautiful morning in simi valley, california to celebrate a great
man. who was also a good man. which is something that happens now and then in history, but not every day. i feel i should note that see me as in simi valley the word see see me. i am told. is american word see me means it's found that out. i believe today. it's very true. look, it's wonderful to be here the reag. loved this place nancy reagan loved this place. she loved to be with the staff and management and docents. she loved to have parties upstairs and meet new friends and urge support for the library. i don't think she ever missed a party or a gathering. she really i think after ronnie i didn't became another home for
her and a great investment for her and a great love for her and this is where i also got to know her very well here and in her home and where we had some wonderful talks about what it is like to have been so deeply enmeshed in high history in america. she was a most remarkable woman. i thank you general woodworth captain mcrae. it's always good to have the marines and the navy in the house. thank you so much. thank you my friends. i find myself when i think about president reagan these days going over certain surprising areas. he was a very great political leader. of course. he was the leader in an age of great leaders margaret thatcher
the pope john paul the second who was also such a great political presence apart from his spiritual importance, but i find my self thinking of son of ronald reagan's personal qualities too, and i'm going to speak of just a few of them. but before i do i want to quickly mention another great gent. most of you know or know of john hi bush the head of the reagan foundation nancy reagan personally shows him for that job. and nancy reagan was a good judge of men. i have worked with john as a board member as he said i think for about 12 or 13 years. he has been my friend my colleague my partner in crime his talents and gifts are so
broad that for fun at night. he writes best-selling novels. he is a man of vision and guts and in his time here. he has achieved the spectacular. the endowment that lets this foundation exist and thrive john the reagan ge scholarships john the educating new generations of scholars, john the making us the most respected presidential library in america, the one that reinvented what a presidential library is john. the reagan institute, which carries the meaning of reaganism john made that happen how does a great and sprawling institution get through a historic pandemic intact? john you see those hills and
mountains behind me john put them there. but i must say really john as a leader and manager john just doesn't help the idea and refine it john executes. he makes it happen and i have simply watched his work with all. for some reason i believe. he believes he also has a right to a private life and more bestsellers. and so he's decided that after more than a dozen years here. he will be stepping down and as you do my friend i say look around this place john look on your mighty works and rejoice. look at him being so modest. smartest so president reagan
i've been lately thinking of a small mystery. here's the mystery it is that politics and political talk dominates our time and yet most of the political figures talking on our screens talking endlessly on our screens. do so without deploying a great tool and weapon of politics and that is humor. ronald reagan used humor and wit to make his points and to move things forward every day. this of course was simply natural to him. i think it's a gift god gave them. it was his nature. i have said in writing about him that humor is imagination operating on good nature, and i think that's what reagan's humor
was. he used it to respond to critics. he would. flip a criticism to take the power out of it. you all remember some of us worked with him? he was often accused of being lazy. he did not respond as you might think saying now i disagree with that if you saw my schedule, i worked very hard. he didn't say that he didn't defend himself. he said instead. i know hard work never killed the man, but i figure why take a chance. when they said he was stupid, he said i know i was thinking about that the other day while i was reading the funny papers. he deployed with very effectively and personal negotiations once there was a big vote on a tough bill and president reagan called into the
oval office a us. senator a republican who was bucking the white house and not voting for the bill because it was a tough one. so the senator walked into the oval office for the first time and he was awed to be with reagan, but he said, you know he couldn't afford to back him. he didn't want reagan to think he was disloyal the senator whispered mr. president. i love you why if you told me to jump out of a plane i jump but and reagan said jump and the senator voted for that bill and the bill passed. so i just think we could use a little more humor and wit in our politics now. it's something that works. it lightens the intellectual load its sweetens the air. so political figures think about that.
i think of another aspect of ronald reagan's personal style. ronald reagan lived a bustling life full of movement and action and issues and people and he was a political figure he mixed with people he tried to win them over. i think your pardon. but i think he was by nature a more solitary person than we remember. a man who really liked and was happiest in solitary pursuits. it was a sacrifice for him to be as public a person as he had to be in order to do politics in america. he was a solitary nature. he loved solitary pursuits writing letters reading on the horse at the ranch riding with nancy. i believe he believed in privacy in a sort of old-fashioned american way he believed in a
line and invisible line. when the world but it was a real line. he would never as politicians do weighed into a diner in new hampshire during the primaries and interruptive boothful of people having lunch to introduce himself and tell them he was running he would never do that. he didn't want to interrupt people while they were dining. he wasn't shy he was friendly, but he wasn't quite gregarious. and he wasn't quite valuable. he just had a sense of his space and your space and they weren't the same space. that is very american. that is very pre-social media. connected to that. i mean that seriously connected to that. perhaps was the fact that though. he was a political person who made history in the political sphere.
i really and i've thought about this for year. i do not think his conception of himself. was that of a politician? i think he saw himself experienced himself as an artist. as a student in college, he sketched and drew and wrote short stories and little plays. he thought he might become a cartoonist as a young man. he went into broadcasting before it was a formalized news bringer. he was in broadcasting when it was more about entertainment in its earliest days. then he went on to hollywood where he acted and worked with artists. green riders set designers directors in middle age. he went into politics, but i think he still felt he was an artist and that was a good thing to be in politics because an
artist isn't an economist an artist doesn't look at rows of numbers an artist tries to see the big picture the big meaning of things to capture the essence of a thing to name it and then address it. if you think about his work even just with the soviet union's naming what they were painting what they were saying that what they were would fall that was an artist at work. not an economist. i think we could use more artists in our politics. especially now more big picture more knowing the size of things and what should be said about them. and i find myself finishing up here thinking as interestingly enough john did about ronald reagan's farewell address. i hadn't gone back to it in a
while. i looked at it in the past few days. i had worked with him on it. we met a number of times in the oval office. it was important to him in a way as a document as an end point document. but it was not at all important as a message of politics or partisanship or after a famously triumphant presidency a spiking the ball none of that interested him. he felt he'd done what he'd done. he felt he'd done what he went into the house to do and he got most of it done and he felt secure about his efforts he but he didn't dwell on his place in history. he never said the word legacy. it was of no interest to him. he lacked a kind of historical self-consciousness or vanity or hunger to burnish, his image. i did not know then when i
worked with him, but i know it now that is so unusual and politics. but the farewell those last time he spoke to us as president of the united states. it was 902 pm, january 11 1989. he said it had been the honor of his life to be president. he said one of the things about the presidency is your always somewhat apart. you spend a lot of time going by too fast in a car. someone else's driving and seeing the people. her tinted glass the parents holding up a child and the person by herself waving or the person you saw too late and couldn't wave back to and he always wished he could stop. and reach out have a little conversation. he had loved living in the white house from the residents upstairs. he could look out the window in
the mornings and when there was no humidity or fog he could see across the potomac to the virginia shore. someone told him that's the view lincoln had when he saw the smoke rising from bull run. reagan was glad that he could see more prosaic things the morning traffic or a sailboat on the river or somebody jogging on a trail. about the past eight years the image that it come to his mind was a nautical one. he said is back in the early 1980s at the height of the boat people fleeing vietnam and americans sailor on the uss midway, which had been patrolling the south china sea? the sailors saw on the horizon a leaky little boat crammed inside were refugees. hoping to get to america. the midway sent a launch to bring them safely to the big
ship as the refugees made their way through the sea one saw the sailor on the deck. and that guy stood up and he called out to the sailor and he said hello americans sailor. hello freedom, man. that sailor wrote to the president after that happened and he told him about it and reagan couldn't get it out of his mind. reagan said that's what it was to be an american in the 1980s. we stood again for freedom. i know we always have but in the past few years the world again and in a new way, we are selves rediscovered it. he said as john noted, the pundits called him the great communicator, but he had never thought of himself that way only. that he was communicating great things that came from american
history an american tradition great facts of this country. he said ours was the first revolution and the history of man that truly reversed the course of government and with three little words. we the people we the people tell the government what to do it doesn't tell us the driver the government is the car we decide where it's going to go by what root and how fast and at the end he said there's a great tradition of presidential warnings in presidential farewells, and he had one that was on his mind. it was about the fact that americans self-respect would mean much and would not last unless it was grounded in serious knowledge of the history of your country how it came about what it means why it should be existing in the
future. he asked if we were doing enough in our country in our schools and at home to tell our kids all about our history. he said if we don't our history will be reacting will be removed it will become a lesser thing and if it becomes a lesser thing, we will become a lesser people. he said younger parents seem not so sure that they can teach their kids and unambivalent appreciation of america, but that's the right thing to teach modern kids. he said it is an unambivalent appreciation. and all this what we want to do. anyway on all this on the warning about how we teach in the schools and at home. i just think he was ahead of his time. finally, he spoke of the shining
city on a hill that freesy always used. he said it was john winthrop's phrase and it captured the america john winthrop of the mayflower imagined now that old mayflower man also came to to america on a leaky little boat. he was also lucky to be alive. reagan then spoke of what he saw when he used that phrase. in his mind the city on a hill was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans wind swept god blessed and teaming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace a city with ports that hummed with commerce and creativity and if there had to be city walls the walls had doors and the doors would open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. he said the city the city on a
hill stands pretty well tonight more prosperous more secure happier than it had been eight years before. he said her clothes. we're having a sea moment. he said her glow has held steady no matter what storm and she's still a beacon still a magnet for all who must have freedom for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness toward home. so i just liked remembering that today. it has been on my mind. i see some familiar faces here today, and i think wasn't it good to know. to know a great man who was also a good man and to remember how much he loved america.
let's bring that forward. shall we? thank you. it's an honor today to honor my old friend. wow, that's piggy noon. wow. please rise for the laying of the wreath and honors to president reagan. i here the president of the united states has directed that a presidential wreath belaid at the resting place of all former presidents on the anniversary of
1992 by former president ronald reagan. welcome you to this special virtual program featuring alan hoover the third called reimagining the future. the hoover presidential library and museum alan will discuss the history behind the building of the presidential library and how it has evolved over the years. and what lies ahead? we invite you to submit questions for allen throughout the presentation by using the events. q&a feature you'll find along