Since Oct 12, 2001
The Cabinet Room at the White House is impressive. The momentous decisions and discussions that have taken place in the Cabinet Room fill volumes of history books. I remember one event that I dont believe has been recorded anywhere else and yet it symbolizes the great challenge facing our nation.
On Mondays, when the Presidents schedule allowed, senior members of the White House staff would have lunch with Mr. Reagan in the Cabinet Room. One day as we went around the table to take turns raising issues with the President, I read him a few paragraphs from a Newsday story about a little four-year-old girl. The story was titled, Baby Does Success: Progress defying prognosis.
I read the following:
For most 4-year-olds, those would not be unusual feats. But for Keri-Lynn, those are actions doctors thought she would never be able to perform. Just after she was born, doctors said that Keri-Lynn better known as Long Islands Baby Jane Doe would never know happiness and would experience only pain. They said she would be bedridden for life, probably unaware of who her parents were. And she was not expected to talk or walk. But now Keri-Lynn wears a white nightgown trimmed in pink and green with brown curls framing her blue eyes. And she demands, in a hushed but firm tone, Hug me.
In short, some thought she should be allowed to die. As you will recall, Mr. President, we lost the case; but even though we didnt even know the childs name or her parents, they decided to ignore the medical advice and do everything they could to save her. Mr. President, I believe this child is alive today because of the courage of her parents and your courage in taking on the medical establishment.
I paused and waited for the Presidents reaction. I knew he would be happy, but an extraordinary thing happened at that moment. The President wept. All of us with various degrees of embarrassment watched tears well-up in his eyes. He quickly wiped them away and expressed his gratitude to me for sharing the story.
We went on to other issues that day, but for a brief moment one of the most powerful men in the world cried over one little four-year-old who was born with spina bifida. No cameras recorded the moment when the President shed those tears, but it will always remain with me as one of the most vivid memories I have of Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Gary Bauer is President of Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C.
"What it all boils down to is this. I want the new closeness to continue. And it will, as long as we make it clear that we will continue to act in a certain way as long as they (the Soviets) continue to act in a helpful manner. If and when they don't, at first pull your punches. If they persist, pull the plug. It's still trust, but verify. It's still play, but cut the cards. It's still watch closely. And don't be afraid to see what you see."
From President Reagan's farewell address (http://www.ronaldreagan.com/sp_21.html).
My screen name is intended as a tribute to our nation's greatest president.