In 1976 while in high school, I heard Ronald Reagan deliver a primary election speech. I was in awe. He spoke to my sense of patriotism and love for America. Unfortunately, he was not chosen to run for office that year. But four years later he was — and that choice changed America, and the world, forever. He loved to quote founder and governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony John Winthrop, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”
Some 30 years later as I was establishing the academy, I asked The Reagan Foundation if they would consider putting together a video of Ronald Reagan’s speeches for a school I hoped to establish. My desire was to ensure generations who never knew him would see and understand who he was and why he was known as such an exceptional leader and as “The Great Communicator.” The result was a beautiful montage of his speeches highlighting American core values. His unforgettable questions are vivid reminders of the world and its problems. Yet citizens, statesmen and heroes like Reagan made the world safer, more prosperous and free. His famous invitation to the leader of Russia at the time was, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”—a call to action that became legendary for the liberation of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Ronald Reagan also rhetorically asked, “What kind of people do they think we are?” His desire was to put Marxism and Leninism in the ash heap of history, for their tyrannical and despotic ways and outcomes were legendary. This sort of generational thinking and leading kept us prospering and free.
Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race, we kept them free, we kept the faith.—Ronald Reagan
He told college students in the 1960s that it was a time for choosing. Elections are a time for choosing. I invite you to watch this unique collage of excerpts from his speeches which was submitted to John Adams Academy by The Reagan Foundation and Institute.
I think you will be reminded of the core values at the heart of America, John Adams Academies, and why those values must be forefront in our minds when it’s time to vote or choose where to send our children to school.