As word broke Saturday afternoon about the death of former president Ronald Reagan, Americans began the process of reflecting on their memories of the man credited with bringing an end to the Cold War and revitalizing the Republican Party.
The 40th president of the United States, Reagan died in his Bel Air home at the age of 93 from pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Around the Bowling Green State University campus, faculty and students were saddened by Reagan’s passing, but knew it was just a matter of time.
“I think (Reagan’s death) was inevitable,” said IPC professor Dr. John Makay. “He’s been suffering for the past 10 years and it was, in a sense, a blessing. It was time for him to go.”
Senior Jeff Graves said, “I feel it’s a great loss to our country as always losing a past President is. I think it was kind of a good thing since he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for so long. It was his time.”
For many students, Reagan was the first president when they were born. Although difficult to remember much of his time in office, the image of him as our president remains instilled in all students minds.
“The biggest memory I have, even though I was only nine years old when it happened, was the first day he was in office is when the Iran hostages were released,” graduate student Brett Barnett said. “But I also remember that he was a great communicator and he seemed like a very fatherly figure. I think the United States felt real comfortable under his leadership.”
Reagan visited the BG campus on September 26, 1984 to speak about peace, economics, and the future of America. He spoke in front of 5,000 faculty and students in Anderson Arena, while around 200 protesters came to voice their opinion. Geography professor Dr. Joseph Spinelli was in the audience the day Reagan addressed the University after a student of his got him tickets.
“It was a neat thing to have him come here because I was not a Republican or conservative, but he was still a major figure,” he said.
Although there are differing opinions about the job Reagan did in office, he brought a friendly presence to our country that will leave a lasting impression on all of us.
“I thought that he gave America a new vision, a sense of pride that we had lost during the (Jimmy) Carter administration,” Dr. Makay said. “He was a great speaker and had political instincts. He maybe wasn’t the smartest intellect, but he had good political instincts and a vision that took us through a very tough time.”