The following are remarks by Michael Reagan as prepared for delivery on September 1 at the 2004 Republican National Convention:
My name is Michael Reagan, and I consider myself the luckiest man in the world.
My mother, father and birth-mother were pro-life, and pro-adoption. Because they were, my father made me a Reagan. I've come to honor my father, not to politicize his name.
I'm here to introduce a video tribute to Ronald Reagan — who was not just a great leader, but also a great dad.
On behalf of the Reagan family, let me begin by thanking everyone for all you did during the week we laid my father to rest.
It was your strength and faith, your love and support that sustained us.
So many stood in all-night vigils, stopped their cars and trucks, waved flags or placed their hands on their hearts. One gentleman, Jorge Ponce- Rodriguez, left his passport with a message to our family at the library in Simi Valley.
He said, because of President Reagan, "My family and I were able to achieve US citizenship. Here is my passport as proof. We realized the American Dream! God Bless Mr. Reagan ... "
Why did Ronald Reagan evoke such incredible gratitude and goodwill?
Was it his personality — his sunny optimism, his humor, that twinkle in his eye?
Was it that he was the great communicator? Or, was it all of that — and something more?
Ronald Reagan didn't win the Cold War and ignite our economy with funny stories and beautiful words!
He wasn't just a great communicator, he communicated great ideas!
Where did his ideas come from? They came from his beliefs.
My father believed that God had a plan for his life, for every life, and for the life of our nation.
He believed America was placed between the oceans to be a beacon of freedom for the world, a place where man was not beholden to government, government was beholden to man.
Only in America does the Constitution say we the people give government these rights, but no more!
He believed the Founders' limitations on government helped create the freest, most prosperous nation ever known.
Finally, he believed freedom is never more than one generation from extinction. With the blessings of liberty come the responsibilities to defend it.
Throughout his life, his belief in the American people never wavered.
In his farewell letter he wrote, "As 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."
Ladies and gentlemen, the 40th President of the United States, and my father, Ronald Reagan.