I call upon the scientific community in our country, those who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great talents now to the cause of mankind and world peace: to give us the means of rendering these nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete. ~ Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico (Illinois) on February 6, 1911, as a second son to John Reagan and Nellie Wilson. In the childhood years, his father nicknamed him 'Dutch' as his appearance and haircut resembled that of a Dutchman.
Late in the year 1920, the Reagans shifted to Dixon, where Ronald did his schooling. During his school days, he developed a strong interest in sports, storytelling, and acting.
In 1926, Ronald Reagan joined his first job as a lifeguard at the Rock River (near Dixon). There, he saved the lives of 77 people. In 1928, he won an athletic scholarship, which enabled him to enroll in Eureka College.
During the college years, he was an active participant in sports activities, particularly football and swimming. Majoring in economics and sociology, he completed his bachelor's degree in 1932.
After graduation, he worked as a sports announcer with several radio stations and broadcast for the WHO (World Health Organization), Iowa. In 1937, Ronald Reagan had given a screen test and won a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers for USD 200 per week. This way, he got a break in Hollywood movies.
In the same year, his first movie 'Love is on the Air' released, for which he received rave reviews. Till date, he was the only professional actor who served as a President.
During the Second World War, he joined the Army Air Corps and gained the position of captain. However, he quit the job in 1945 and resumed his acting career in the same year. He married his co-star Jane Wyman in 1940, had two children and adopted the third child.
Unhappy with Reagan's political ambition, Wyman divorced him in 1949. He is the first American president to have been divorced. In 1952, he married his second wife Nancy Davis, who later became the first lady.
Till the 1950s, Ronald Reagan was a strong supporter of the Democratic Party. However, after the Second World War, his political views changed and he officially switched to the Republican Party in 1962.
He delivered television speeches in support of Barry Goldwater. By 1964, he already became a political figure. Though Barry Goldwater lost the Presidential election, he won the hearts of many people and became a popular face in American politics.
In 1967, Ronald Reagan became the governor of California. During his first term, he made many social reforms, like budget cuts and hiked student fees. His fruitful political contribution as a Governor was proved by the fact that he won the next term in 1971.
In his second term, Ronald Reagan implemented strict rules regarding the eligibility for serving in welfare aid and many other welfare reforms. Though he promised to minimize tax, he could not achieve this election commitment during his term.
In the year 1980, Ronald Reagan won the Presidential Election of the United States. Just 69 days after he took office (March 30, 1981) as the 40th President, Ronald Reagan along with three others were shot by John Warnock Hinckley, Jr.
This incident happened outside Hilton Washington hotel in Washington, D.C. He survived the attempted assassination with a punctured lung. With prompt therapeutic intervention, he achieved full recovery.
During his first term, Ronald Reagan pursued policies that emphasized personal freedom, expanded the scope of the military, improved the US economy, and brought an end to the Cold War.
After his name, the economy policies that were enacted in 1981 were called Reaganomics. They aimed at reduction in social spending and enhancing entrepreneurship. His political excellence made him win the second term in 1985.
Ronald Reagan set the record for the oldest President of the United States. When he took office for the first term, he was 69 years and 349 days. And when he left the office in 1989 after serving the second term, he was 77 years old. Five years later, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. By November 1994, he declared his health condition to the public.
He was titled 'the longest living American President' in 2001. In the same year, an aircraft carrier was named USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) to commemorate him.
Though he died on June 5, 2004, the life of Ronald Reagan has taught us a wonderful lesson that if we strive honestly in life, then success is almost guaranteed. For his strong and path-breaking political views, today the world remembers him by the name, 'The Gipper' and 'The Great Communicator'.