Ronald Wilson Reagan was America's 40th President. After beginning his public career as a radio sportscaster, he moved on to become on of America's most famous, and in demand, movie actors. But throughout his life he held steadfast that the most defining moment of his life was his conversion from liberal president of the Screen Actor Guild and staunch supporter of Franklin Roosevelt to one of America's leading conservative voices after World War II.

After GOP Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater lost in a landslide to incumbent Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Reagan found himself, the leading spokesman for American conservatism.

Reagan's popularity grew after two successful terms as Governor of California, and after an unsuccessful try at the Republican nomination in 1976, he captured the party's top spot in 1980, followed by back-to-back Presidential election victories.

When Reagan took over the Oval Office, he had inherited a military with flagging morale. But he oversaw a rebuilding of America's armed forces, laying the groundwork for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

It seems that Reagan was at his best on Memorial Day. He addressed the nation with words of patriotic passion, heroism. His inspired speeches spoke winning their freedom and the freedom of millions around the world, with their brave sacrifices and he had unending praise for America's martyrs and their families.

"If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered like no other people on earth, it was because here in this land, we unleashed the energy of the genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before.

"The price for this freedom has sometimes been high. But we have never been unwilling to pay that price."


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