St. Petersburg Times Special Report
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Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator

1911-2004

“We meant to change a nation,
and instead, we changed a world.”

– FINAL ADDRESS AS PRESIDENT, JANUARY 1989

Former President Ronald Reagan.
Please sign our guestbook
COMMENTARY
Bill Adair:
He connected with his words
Howard Troxler: His words and deeds had the ring of freedom

REACTION
Tampa Bay remembers kindness, optimism of president
Europe: 'It is due to him that we are free'
Reagan Honed Message, Skills in Calif.
1999 Reagan Biography Sparked Controversy
Kerry Postpones Campaign to Honor Reagan
Former Presidents React to Reagan's Death

INTERACTIVES
Go to an online pictorial glimpse at the life and careers of Ronald Reagan
Portrait of a President
Timeline: Illinois to the White House
Reagan's life in pictures

LATEST HEADLINES FROM THE WIRE

photoASSASSINATION ATTEMPT: The nation was shocked on March 30, 1981, when John Hinckley Jr. shot the president and three others as they left the Washington Hilton. Secret Service agents shoved Reagan into a waiting car, and surgeons later removed the bullet, which missed his heart by less than an inch.

AP (1981)

photo WORLD AFFAIRS: Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire” in a 1983 speech, and his presidency saw the start of the transformation of the nation away from Communism. He had cordial talks with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985, above, but urged stronger action from him in a 1987 speech from the Berlin Wall, below.

AP (1985)

photo "Mr. Gorbachev,
tear down this wall."

-- REMARKS AT THE BRANDENBURG GATE, 1987

AP (1987)

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SECOND TERM: President Reagan takes the oath of office in 1985 from Chief Justice Warren Burger. “We are creating a nation once again vibrant, robust and alive.”

AP (1985)

photo POST-PRESIDENCY: Reagan retired to California, but continued to be a presence, including giving a speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention.

AP (1992)

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REAGAN RANCH: Reagan often sought refuge from Washington at his 688-acre ranch, Rancho del Cielo, near Santa Barbara, Calif., where he rode horses and chopped wood. But the ranch also served official purposes. Reagan signed the 1981 Economic Recovery Act -- then the largest tax cut in history -- at the ranch. The Reagans hosted world leaders and members of his administration at the ranch, and he addressed the American public from there.
“I now begin the journey that will
lead me into the sunset of my life.
I know that for America, there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

– ANNOUNCEMENT OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, 1994

 
Related links
Biography of Ronald Reagan

Reagan Library and Museum

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library

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HIS LIFE
1911: Ronald Wilson Reagan is born in Tampico, Ill., on Feb. 6.
1932: Graduates from Eureka College and starts job at WOC radio in Davenport, Iowa.
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Reagan in Bedtime for Bonzo

1937:
Makes the first of more than 50 feature films, Love Is on the Air.

1940: Marries actress Jane Wyman on Jan. 26 and earns the nickname “the Gipper” from his role as football
legend George Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American.
1947: Elected president of the Screen Actors Guild for the first of five terms.
1948: Divorces Wyman.
1952: Marriesphoto actress Nancy Davis.
1962: Switches his political affiliation to Republican.
1966: Elected California governor, defeating incumbent Democrat Edmund G. (“Pat”) Brown.
1968: Announces candidacy for presidential nomination. Richard Nixon is nominated.
1970: Re-elected governor.
1975: Opens presidential campaign. Gerald Ford is nominated in 1976.
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1980: Nov. 4: Elected 40th president of the United States, defeating Jimmy Carter.

HIS PRESIDENCY
1981:
• Jan. 20: Reagan sworn in and Iran releases 52 hostages who had been held for 444 days.
• March 30: Shot by John Hinckley Jr.
• Aug. 3: Air traffic controllers go on strike. Reagan fires those who don’t return to work.
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• September: Appoints first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor.
1983:
• Unveils proposal for Space Defense Initiative.
• Oct. 25: Reagan orders U.S. troops to invade the island nation of Grenada to protect U.S. medical students.
• Time magazine chooses Reagan and Soviet leader Yuri Andropov as "Men of the Year."
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President-elect Reagan with Vice President-elect Bush
1984:
• Reagan is re-elected, defeating Walter Mondale in landslide.
1985:
• Jan. 20: Reagan, 73, becomes the oldest president to be sworn in.
• July 15: Has intestinal surgery, briefly transfers powers to Vice President Bush.
1986:
• Jan. 15: Reagan makes Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday.
• April 14: In retaliation for the bombing of a West Berlin night club where a U.S. serviceman was killed, U.S. bombers hit Libya.
• Nov. 13: Reagan admits sending defensive weapons and spare parts to Iran, but denies it was part of an arms- for-hostages deal.
1987:
• Dec. 8: Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sign first treaty to provide for
destruction of nuclear weapons.
1989:
• Jan. 11: Delivers farewell address.
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1993: Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
1994:
• Nov. 5: Discloses his condition to American people and no longer appears in public.

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