A Cold Morning in Vermont

From yesterday’s New York Times

June 13, 2004
ByJOHN TIERNEY

IGNAT SOLZHENITSYN understands why so many people have warm thoughts
of Ronald Reagan, but one of his earliest memories is on the frigid side.

In 1980, Ignat was an 8-year-old transplanted to Vermont by his father, the famous chronicler of Siberia’s gulags. As Ignat tells the story, on the morning after the presidential election he got a taste of American political re-education at the progressive private school he and his brothers attended.

In response to the Reagan victory, the school’s flag was lowered to half-staff, and the morning assembly was devoted to what today would be called grief counseling. The headmaster mourned “what America would become once the dark night of fascism descended under the B-movie actor,” recalled Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who is now the music director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia. “At one point he interrupted himself to inquire if anyone present did not share his gloomy view of the Reagan victory.”

The only students to raise their hands were Ignat and his two brothers, Yermolai and Stephan. After a stony silence, he recalled, they were sent outside, without their coats, to meditate on the error of their ways underneath the lowered flag. Vermont in November was hardly Siberia, but there was frost on the ground, and they spent an hour shivering and exercising to stay warm. Still, Ignat said, their political exile was a relief from sitting in the auditorium listening to the party line.

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The Reagan Restoration

Article available seven days only

June 7, 2004
A striking fact about Ronald Reagan is that nearly a generation after he left the Presidency so many people still don’t comprehend the reasons for his success. The eulogies over this past weekend have stressed his many personal virtues: his fundamental good nature, his humor and optimism, his courage in coping with Alzheimer’s, and his skills as the “great communicator.”

These were all essential to the man and to his achievement, but they were not sufficient. Mr. Reagan was the most consequential President since FDR because of his ideas. His Presidency was at root about returning a country that was heading toward decline back to its founding principles of individual liberty and responsibility. At the time it was called a “revolution” but his era is better understood as a restoration.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Journal Online website.

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A Life and Death Document from Britain

Bishops’ Text Takes On Bioethical and Family Issues

LONDON, JUNE 12, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic bishops of England and Wales recently published a lengthy document on bioethical and family issues, called “Cherishing Life.” At the May 26 press conference that launched the document, Bishop Christopher Budd of Plymouth, one of the text’s writers, said: “The multiplicity of issues underlines the complexity of living in our present world.”

He noted: “The clear articulation of principles and values seeks to show the importance of a principled approach to moral questions.”
[Read more…]

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Letter from a military chaplain in Iraq

A military vet and good friend passed this along. I am not including the author’s name because I don’t have his permission yet. Note his comments in the final paragraphs on the cultural legacy of the anti-war movement.

30 May 2004

Dear Friends,

This is my third letter from Iraq. I have been working myself into the right mood to do this. Today is the day. In my last two letters I have leaned toward being as upbeat as possible. This time will be different; today I want to talk about Memorial Day, but I will start off by giving my perspective on the Abu Ghraib prison problem.*[Read more…]

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The Great Liberator is laid to rest.

President Ronald Reagan was laid to rest in the California mountains yesterday evening. He will be remembered as one of America’s great presidents. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s eulogy, which I posted below, captured some of his qualities.

Baroness Thatcher said part of Reagan’s greatness was his magnanimity. She called it an American characteristic, which indeed it is. Americans by and large are generous of spirit and heart; it’s one of the reasons that no matter where in the world you come from, you can always be an American.

Baroness Thatcher also called Reagan "the Great Liberator," a term that will probably come to describe our former President. He ended the slavery of tyranny for millions, and when the partianship of the present time fades and people see more clearly, it will be seen as his greatest accomplishment.

May his memory be eternal.

God bless America.

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I’m not the only one who thought the Rev. was a windbag

I haven’t seen any of former Pres. Reagan’s procession to the Capital Rotunda or the funeral today on television yet (hoping C-Span replays it tonight). I heard both on the radio in my car though.

Reading Dr. Reynold’s blog on the Rev. Daniel P. Coughlin’s speech (sermon? prayer?) at the rotunda echoed my impressions. It was a convoluted, nonsensical display of, what? — I’m not really sure. I got the sense Coughlin was drafted into the duty so he approached as a political exercise. He seemed not to like Ronald Reagan and did not really believe that Reagan’s accomplishments were great. There was no heart in his words. It was a loose weaving of disconected themes that were not anchored to anything. What an opportunity wasted.

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Text of Margaret Thatcher’s Eulogy at Pres. Reagan’s Funeral

We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.

In his lifetime Ronald Reagan (news – web sites) was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America’s wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk. [Read more…]

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Reagan on Religious Liberty, 1985

Remarks of President Ronald Reagan at 1985 Conference on Religious Liberty
June 9, 2004
http://www.ird-renew.org/Home/Home.cfm?ID=906&c=28

The following speech was given by President Ronald Reagan at an April 1985 conference that was co-sponsored by the State Department and the Institute on Religion & Democracy, the National Association of Evangelicals, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and the Jacque Maritain Center at Notre Dame. In his address, the President addressed the importance of international religious freedom. Even after the fall of communism, his remarks on religious liberty continue to be relevant. [Read more…]

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Reagan: Remarks at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast

Remarks at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas August 23, 1984
http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/resource/speeches/1984/82

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, very much. And, Martha Weisend, thank you very much. And I could say that if the morning ended with the music we have just heard from that magnificent choir, it would indeed be a holy day for all of us.
It’s wonderful to be here this morning. The past few days have been pretty busy for all of us, but I’ve wanted to be with you today to share some of my own thoughts.[Read more…]

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Pres. Ronald Reagan

A great man passed away yesterday. President Ronald Reagan oversaw the collapse of the Communist tyranny of the last century. Reagan, along with Pope John Paul II, may be seen as two of the most influential men of our generation. Reagan is a controversial man, as all great leaders are, but even his detractors have come to give him a grudging respect. A personal friend of mine, retired from active politics now, worked closely with Reagan during his campaigns. He recounted that during the dark days of the campaign, after the defeat of the Iowa primary in particular, Reagan summoned his staff and promised them if he were ever elected, he would force the dismantling of the Soviet Communist regime. He fulfilled the promise.

Reagan, like many of the clearer thinkers who came of age in the days before many of us were born, saw Communism for what it was: a horrible oppression of human life and dignity. Reagan correctly called it an "evil empire." He went on to win the presidency and we saw the dismantling of the Berlin Wall (a piece of it sits on my desk). Eastern Europe began to breath free. I’ll have more on this down the road. You might also find Dr. John Mark Reynolds reflections worth reading.

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Turkey’s ancient Christians seek to resettle villages

Syriac archbishop: ‘It is our pleasure to have our people back from different parts of the world’
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Turkey: The ancient Syriac Orthodox monastery outside this southeastern city is praying for a brighter future as Christians, forced out of their ancestral lands by economic hardship and an armed Kurdish insurgency, start trickling back to their villages.

“It is our pleasure to have our people back from different parts of the world,” said Archbishop Filuksinos Saliba Ozmen at the Deyrulzafaran Monastery, which dates back to the 5th century and sits on a bluff overlooking an extensive plain.
[Read more…]

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D-Day: The liberation of Europe has lessons for today’s war leaders.

Paul Johnson, arguably one the best living historians, writes on the risks of D Day, and the necessity of historical perspective in wartime — including the war in Iraq.

BY PAUL JOHNSON
Thursday, June 3, 2004 12:01 a.m. EDT

LONDON–To launch a large-scale opposed landing across many miles of water is the most hazardous of all military operations. Nothing before or since has ever been mounted on the scale of Operation Overlord, though the U.S. invasion of Iraq after the 9/11 outrage employed more firepower. The D-Day landing that began June 6, 1944, involved three services, airborne and glider troops, submarine landing, undercover agents and saboteurs, and an astonishing array of technological gimmicks.

It was the most carefully planned operation in history, and it had to be. So many things could go wrong. Churchill had learned from the bitter experience of Gallipoli 30 years before how easily a big invasion could be pinned down on a narrow beachhead and never break out of it. That nearly ended his political career. The Dieppe rehearsal showed the risks we were taking and the real possibility of a catastrophe. In Italy, we had had another near-disaster at Anzio.

Read the entire article on the Wall Street Opinion Journal website.

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