Sunday, February 6, 2011

100 Years After Ronald Reagan's Birth

Ronald Reagan was born 100 years ago today on February 6, 1911. He was my governor when I lived in California and he was our our 40th President for two terms in the 1980s. He was a fiscal conservative and America prospered economically under his leadership.Generations will remember his famous Tear Down That Wall speech.  His speaking skills perhaps were enhanced by his years as an actor. Reagan is remembered for the years he didn't have Alzheimer's.

However, after he left office, in November 5, 1994  he announced:
My fellow Americans, I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

Upon learning this news, Nancy and I had to decide whether as private citizens we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way. In the past, Nancy suffered from breast cancer and I had my cancer surgeries. We found through our open disclosures we were able to raise public awareness. We were happy that as a result, many more people underwent testing. They were treated in early stages and able to return to normal, healthy lives.

So now we feel it is important to share it with you. In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.

At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this Earth doing the things I have always done. I will continue to share life's journey with my beloved Nancy and my family. I plan to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.

Unfortunately, as Alzheimer's disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.

In closing, let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that day may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.

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.

Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.

Reagan lived almost ten years after that announcement, dying June 5, 2004 at age 93.  I was a widow when Reagan died and my sentiments were for Nancy Reagan. I didn't know the future, that my second husband would also be diagnoised with Alzheimer's. But the Reagans made us Americans more aware of this disease according to the Washington Post. I  know that DH will not come out and make such an announcement and I have tried to do that in a dignified fashion for him. I am glad that he is content.

Many celebrities have gotten Alzheimer's according to this 2006 List. The list includes painter Norman Rockwell (1894-1978); singer Perry Como (192-2001); and actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987). In 2003 it was announced that actor Charton Heston has a dementia-like illness.Celebrity doesn't keep one from this dreaded disease.


  1. Ronald Reagan was one of my favorite people. I hate Alzheimer's and I wish we would get it out there more and get more studies being done to cure it. Thanks for the post.

  2. Beautiful post.....Ronald Reagan was such a good and honorable man.
    Thanks for posting this, it was nice and sad to read his words.

    Hope you're having a good day!