REMEMBERING THE GIPPER




FNC invites FOX Fans to share their memories of President Ronald Reagan.

E-mail us at speakout@foxnews.com, and stay with our special coverage as we remember his presidency and examine his legacy.

Here's what FNC Viewers had to say about the nation's 40th president:

“Ronald Reagan was the first president I voted for at age 18. Being African-American, you could imagine the backlash that came from those of my family. He was and still is a great example and leader that led America through very difficult and uncertain times. He gave America its dignity back.” — William (Tulsa, OK)

“I was young when President Reagan left office but my best memory of him was when my parents told me about the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. My parents told me all about the Berlin Wall and what it had stood for and that Reagan set the course for getting rid of it. Reagan inspired a generation, including me. He inspired me to serve. He will be missed.” — Paul

“Reagan was a great leader. He was neither a prisoner of academic hyperbole, nor paralyzed to inaction by artificial ambiguity. His critics attacked his framing of complex issues in simple terms. His associates hailed his clarity. His foes feared his directness and resolve. We followed him because he led.” — J.W.

“My most vivid memory of Mr. Reagan was when I saw and heard him speak at an anniversary gathering of the Knights of Columbus in the Hartford, CT civic center. I was there along with about 20,000 members. I do not recall what he said, that has passed from memory, but what I do remember was the President striding in to that arena. He did not even have to say anything. I, and those I spoke with afterwards, all felt the same thing:  the man had a dynamic presence. You knew you were in the company of someone very special. I have seen, in person, every president going back to Harry Truman.  Not one came close to generating the feelings and emotion that Ronald Reagan did, just by walking into the room.” — David (Cromwell, CT)

“President Reagan was a man to be admired, and he truly believed in the American people and all that we stand for. He gave us hope and inspiration to be better citizens, better neighbors, and better Americans! I will never forget the day the Berlin wall fell and his awesome speech about it. It gave us the hope that our world could be at peace, and that we would not have to worry about war or the possibility of war. He gave hope to those who had been oppressed for so long. President Reagan was an inspiration to future presidents, and an example of how to truly lead.  May we all remember his shining example and may we all be blessed for having him in our lives.” — Patricia (Russellville, AR)

“I loved President Reagan for his character, resolute courage, and willingness to always do what was right rather than what was politically expedient. He didn't govern by polls or focus groups, but rather by his principles (principles shared by most Americans). I fear we will never again see his equal. My wife is now pregnant with our first child, a daughter, named Reagan Louise.” — Todd (Kansas City, MO)

“Ronald Reagan was a great American president and truly an inspiration to us.  I was ten-years-old when he became president and I realize what a blessing it was to have had him serve our country as president for eight years. He had great character. I'm thankful for him and his principles that he stood so firmly upon.” — The Kloth Family (New Berlin, WI)

“My wife and I were at a fundraising event at the Washington Hotel. President Reagan and Nancy were there on the podium, which we could see very well from our balcony seats. They were separated by the podium and the President would lean back every now and then and Nancy would lean back also and they would wink or smile at each other. Upon their exit, they came off the podium right under where my wife and I were sitting. President Reagan looked up to see my wife waving, smiling and almost about ready to fall out of the balcony trying to say hello. He laughed at her and pointed for Nancy to look also and she started laughing too. It was a great moment that we will never forget. It showed how much they loved each other and how much they enjoyed being the first family of America.” — Mark (Roanoke, VA)

“President Reagan renewed our country's pride by reminding us that respect for individuals can be balanced with the responsibility of belonging to a community. Together we are stronger.” — James (Falls Church, VA)

“Ronald Reagan’s honesty, candor, and unrelenting love for America is why we loved him during his presidency, why we love him in his passing and why history will undoubtedly prove to love him in the future. He was a devoted leader and a tonic from the vast mediocrity that preceded and followed him. He brought pride and dignity back into the hearts of Americans. A great leader of our time, and a man sorely missed. God Bless him and his family.” — Ellen (New York, NY)

“President Reagan inspired me. I was a member of the Space Shuttle Ground handling crew in January 1986. Three days after the Challenger incident, I lost my position (along with 3,000 others). After his speech I returned to school and achieved a degree while helping to raise five children. He inspired me that I could do this and my actions have inspired my children to do the same. I will always be forever grateful for his optimism and encouragement and it's help to me. As a former Marine, he will always be my president.” — Jim (Minneapolis, MN)

"I really am angered when I hear people dishonoring this man’s memory, but I am more bothered by the way that some try to cannonize him. He served his country, as did me and my father. He lost an unfathomably painful battle with Alzheimer’s, as did my father. I am no Republican (nor a Democrat), but I can respect him and wish his family well. I do, however, think that it is dangerous to hold him up as some sort of American god or some beacon of light for. From Iran-Contra to his ‘Voodoo’ economics, he was by far no beacon of light. We must acknowledge that he was not perfect and that he made major mistakes that harmed this country too. But that is for history to decide, not now. Now we must honor the former president with respect. I will refrain from railing against him, but I think we must simply honor him and not try to rewrite history. To attack him now is just as disrespectful as cannonizing him as some American king. This isn't England. God bless his family and friends who lost a beloved man. May Reagan rest in peace.” — Jeff (Baltimore, MD)

“My memories of Mr. Reagan are: wasting taxpayers money on Star Wars, calling ketchup a vegetable, honoring Nazi war dead at Bitburg, Iran Contra, deficits as far as the eye can see, Nancy's astrologer influencing policy, ‘voodoo’ economics, the Reagan Recession of 1981-1983, sending Rumsfeld to shake Saddam's hand and deliver a personal ‘Dear Saddam’ letter from Mr. Reagan…I remember how he ushered in a new conservative ethic in America that made the country meaner, angrier and more divided.” — John (Hockessin, DE)

“I am a 37-year-old mom of three and will never forget the Reagan years while I was in high school. A child will most likely share the same views of their parents because that is what they hear on a daily basis as being the ‘right’ direction. Although my parents were/are very strong with their political convictions and loved President Reagan for all that he did and brought to our wonderful country, my decision to love this dignified and honorable man was that of my own. His compassion for the people of our country and the people of the world was so apparent. His strong knowledge of economics allowed our country to prosper and allowed the small businessperson to succeed. I cried when I heard the news of this distinguished man's death, not just because of his departure from our presence and because of the horrible disease that took him away. I cried because my heart was pierced as though a member of my own family was taken. This family member was one of the most caring, loving, and noble human beings ever to walk this earth. God bless you, President Reagan.” — Rebecca (Chandler, AZ)

“No matter what ideology one follows, it is indisputable that President Ronald Reagan pulled this country together and made major and positive differences in each and every American's life and millions of those living under dictatorships, then and now. It is gratifying to know that those who spoke of him as nothing more than a cowboy or ‘dunderhead’ are now silenced as history has revealed that he was absolutely right in his beliefs and programs. Intelligence combined with kindness made him a great man and a great president." — Peggy (Jacksonville, FL)

“President Ronald Reagan epitomized all the qualities of a true American patriot. He stood for the all that made this the best country on earth. He stood by his principal's and never wavered. He was a god-send to all of us who love freedom.” — Thomas (Elizabethtown, PA)

“He cared for small town America and came to Dothan, Alabama in 1986.  I stood at the curb and watched as the Motorcade went by and he waved and made eye contact with me!  I will never forget this.  He is the only American president I ever saw in person.  He was a great man!” — Sharon (Dothan, AL)

“This is very hard to put into words. President Reagan means so much to me. He is the reason I'm now involved in politics. I started getting interested in politics while in high school watching his every move. His speeches moved me. I could see in his eyes and heart how much love he had for our country and us. He made me feel good about life and he brought out a higher level of affection and devotion for our country. He made me proud. He taught me so much. I saw the devotion he had spirituality and I have incorporated that into my life. I saw the kindness and politeness he had for his fellow human beings and I have incorporated that into my life. I saw the reflection, deliberation and consideration he put into each decision he made and I now I do the same. I saw how he was always positive and looked to the future and saw the greatness in everything and now I try to do the same. President Reagan is the greatest president we have ever had but, moreover, a great human being who lived everyday to the fullest and as a nation we should embrace this and make these traits our own. He will be deeply missed. President Reagan will always have a place in my heart. I know he is in heaven looking down at this great country and smiling. God rest his soul and God bless his family and this country forever.” — Bart (Evansville, IN)

“Ronald Reagan was the first president I voted for when I turned 18. He was also my Commander in Chief when I joined the Army. Most of my young friends at the time didn’t like him, but I loved him. As the years go by his optimism helps to steel me in difficult times. I wish he was around today to help give direction and purpose on our war on terrorism.” — Bob

“The 1980 election was my first. I had just turned 18 and was attending a school in Minnesota that year. Just down the street on the way to town, an election mobile trailer was set up and the people there asked if I wanted to register to vote. I thought, ‘Wow! I can actually vote for Ronald Reagan!’ What an honor!’ I signed up, and although I knew no one else on the ballot, I had taken part in a historic election, fully aware of the national mood and darkness of those previous years. Later I was home from school bowling with a friend on that dark day in March when I heard the news that President Reagan was shot. I was stunned. I began praying a non-stop Rosary for both him and James Brady until the reports came that both were safely on the road to recovery. I was with a group that was scheduled to actually meet President Reagan at the White House in a month, but that assassination attempt ruined that chance. I was greatly saddened by that as well, but mostly I was grateful to God that President Reagan’s life was spared.” — George (St. Louis, MO)

“I liked President Reagan, I count him among America's best and most beloved presidents. He brought a sense of dignity to the White House. The love between him and Nancy was quite evident, and a thing of beauty, more people should have that love. He will be missed. I am also a gay man with AIDS. A lot of people fault him for the early days of the AIDS crisis when so many died. I do not. I believe and know he did the very best he could. Some say if he would of have done something earlier many would not have died. I do not hold this belief.  Here we are in 2004 and there is still no vaccine. Young people (and those that ought to know better) are still having unprotected sex, and still the virus claims lives) and for only the past 5 or 7 years has there been any medicines at all. This is long after President Reagan was in the White House. I hold no ill will toward President Reagan. In fact, there is much he has made me proud of: the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. He truly was the Great Communicator. He was loved by both sides of the aisle and by a great many Americans. America stands stronger because of the work this president did.” — Ron

"When I first heard that Ronald Reagan was entering politics, I was sad, as he was one of my favorite cowboy heroes. At that time, I could never have dreamed of how much greater a hero he would become. To me, he is the greatest man who ever lived.” — Paul (Ancaster, Ontario)

“Although I never had the privilege of voting for Ronald Reagan due to my age, he was the first public figure that I remember saying that America's best days were ahead of her. It is because of President Reagan that I became a conservative and I am not ashamed to admit that he was my hero. It is because of President Reagan that a generation of conservatives (including myself) came to Washington believing that we could make a difference. We lost a hero and one of the great presidents, but his family has lost a husband and father. My prayers are with them through this trying time. Farewell and Godspeed President Reagan!” — Charlie (Abingdon, VA)

“By defeating communism and restoring the strength and vitality of America, Ronald Reagan has given humanity a fighting chance to seek its better nature as it heads into the 21st century. Thank you Mr. President.” — Jeff (Williamsport, PA)

“It was a bright, clear morning in the autumn of 1966 in Bakersfield, California when Ronald Reagan had just started his run to be Governor of California. My mother, aunt and myself had ventured over to a small corner shopping center to enjoy the early morning and walk around for a bit. Most of the stores were closed and there were just a few people meandering around when a white Ford sedan drove up with a motorcycle officer. Out got Ronald Reagan and a couple of aides. It appeared they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather than rushing off, as his aides seemed to want to do, Mr. Reagan told them he wanted to stay and chat awhile. Maybe part of that was because I was holding our little toy poodle (Beau) and the minute Mr. Reagan saw him he came right over and started petting him. There were only five or six of us standing there, but we had the best chat for the next fifteen minutes talking about his dogs and his ranch and how much the dogs enjoyed being there. I have always remembered that wonderful twinkle in his eye and the feeling of his genial and sincere nature. His handshake was firm and his feelings about the need for improvement of government and his willingness to work for that were from his heart. It was with great pleasure after that I was able to refer to him as Governor and then as President Ronald Reagan.” — Edie (Fresno, CA)