By B. John Zavrel
Washington/Berlin (bpb) Ronald Reagan could have reached his 100th birthday on February 6, 2011. Wikipedia notes the following briefly and simply: Ronald Wilson Reagan (* February 6, 1911 in Tampico, Illinois; +June 5, 2004 in Bel Air, California) was a US actor, Republican politician and from 1981 to 1989 the President of the United States. From 1967 to 1975 he was the 33rd Governor of California.
But what is behind this fascinating person? And why do uncounted millions of men around the world feel gratitude, respect and 'loving affection' for this personality?
About Ronald Reagan, his work and actions had to be written globally billions of articles in the print media, as well as on radio and TV: news, commentaries, press reports, books, and commemorative publications. His name stands in countless books and pamphlets in the countries of the former east block, and also in those countries which felt themselves--and still do evewn now--feel opressed by the USA.
What can one on the occasion of his 100th birthday still write about him?
Let us record the fact to which his wife, the US First Lady Nancy Reagan, has contributed through an exemplary life. The international comparison confirms it: the presidential couple has represented the USA in a good style and with honor, and governed the country without any personal scandals. The far-reaching successful political results underline this: Ronald Reagan was a powerful politician, who gave America a human face. He was firmly engaged for the fundamental principles of the democratic social system.
At the climax of the Cold War: The US President Ronald Reagan pointedly visited the Berlin Wall. It divided Berlin into East and West, and was an international symbol of communism. The photo shows the US President with the Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (left) and in the background his press spokesman Friedhelm Ost. Reagan stood behind bullet-proof glass, in order to be safe from sharpshooters from East Berlin. During a visit in 1987, Reagan demanded in front of the Brandenburg Gate: Mr. Gorbatchev, tear down this wall!"
The loyalty of the Germans to the 40th US President
The loyalty of the Germans to the United States in Reagan's time and his political reliability to the European allies is legendary to this day. Even the critical media in Europe give Reagan currently credit by acknowledging his merits. Among them, the German newspaper 'Tagesspiegel' from the powerful Axel Springer Publishing House in Berlin published the glowing report in January 2011 titled 'Ronald Reagan: The Wildest One in the West.'
We quote an excerpt from the article:
100 Years of Reagan: Berlin must name an avenue after the most successful Cold War warrior. No Chancellor was as successful as he was. One does not have to find him symphatetic. But Reagan has won much recognition and honor especially in Berlin.
A Ronald Reagan Street is the least. No other politician has such a great share of merit for the fall of the Berlin Wall. No President, no Chancellor has so clearly, directly and unmistakeably pointed to the erosion of Soviet power. Nobody else was such a successful Cold War warrior', remembered the respected daily newspaper in the German capital.
And it continued: 'A few more sentences of this kind, and all self-proclaimed supporters of peace are full of anger. And they should be! Like no one else, in his best times, Reagan has questioned them : in their dreamy belief in the Kremlin politicians as men of peace in, in their readiness to ascribe these totalitarian rulers the best intentions, and to blindly trust the communists.'
This positive attitude is shared by all the German newspapers that still remember, how serious the political situation was in those times. Most of them meet Reagan today with thanks, respect, high esteem and a 'loving affection', as one could read in the many reports on the 100 year anniversary of his birth.
A cultured man
The author of this report has been given an inside view of the President, based on the experiences at a personal meeting with Ronald Reagan. The memory of a deeply moving laying down of a wreath by the US President at the grave of Konrad Adenauer. According to his wish, the big media gathering was avoided. "I felt a deep need to be alone with the great German Chancellor, and to be able to commemorate undisturbed at this grave', said Reagan on that occasion.
Ronald Reagan showed himself to be a person interested in the arts at the handing over of his bronze bust, which was created by the sculptor Kurt Arentz. He was very pleasant and gave himself ample time for a cultured conversation with the artist and his companions. Furthermore, Ronald Reagan belonged to the international Alexander Order pour le Mérite for Science and Art. This decoration was also awarded to Nancy Reagan after the President's death.
Consul B. John Zavrel with President Ronald Reagan in the President's office in Los Angeles.
Copyright 2011 PROMETHEUS
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science, Nr. 164, February, 2011