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Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist,
author and a popular speaker. Born into a military
family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East
Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces
service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation
from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both
the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive
for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work,
at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is
based in large part on his extensive experience in
Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman.
[go to Cucullu index]
Bright Dawn Ahead
[Gordon Cucullu] 6/7/04
is comforting for many people who think as I do to have faith
in a world
by the intelligent design of a supreme
being. It’s good to know that God has more sense than we
do, and that He steers things in ways that we don’t always
understand. It seems that God must have had a reason to keep
Ronald Reagan alive until 2004.
more than at any time in the last twenty years, we need the
of this giant of a man, this charismatic
leader who had vision unlike any American president of the second
half of the 20th century. Through his passing we recall his vision,
leadership and force of personality at a critical time when our
compass seems to be spinning wildly and we need firm direction.
Reagan’s spirit, words and philosophy will guide us.
Reagan came to office he found an America in doldrums, beset
worries about our role in the world and fretting about
lost ability to influence our destiny. Many were depressed by
internal conflict over the Vietnam War, the Nixon scandals, sky-high
inflation, debt, oil shortages, and an endless series of international
failures. Pundits predicted that America’s time in the
sun had passed. The country was considered ungovernable, bumping
along an aimless track.
would have none of this. He rejected the Jimmy Carter attitude
of ‘national malaise’ along
with any notion that this country was on a slide to oblivion.
more than any of his predecessors, was certain of where he stood
and was confident in that stance. He did not require constant
polling, focus groups or media reports: he had a moral core of
values upon which he relied completely. He based his values on
a solid Christian foundation with an unswerving belief that the
Founding Fathers had created in America a bastion of freedom
and liberty unparalleled in the world. Furthermore, he believed
that liberty was a gift that America was responsible for sharing
with the less fortunate in the world.
He took on the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union, fought against
rabid dissent in Europe and in America, deflected the most brutal
personal attacks, and took firm, deliberate steps that forced
the Soviet Union into disintegration. He won the Cold War without
a nuclear exchange - a potential catastrophe we had lived under
since 1948. He tore down the Berlin Wall and liberated a people
frozen into the rock-hard tyranny of the Soviet Bloc of Eastern
Europe. A bright morning dawned over Europe.
Reagan refused to rise to the bait when with typical liberal
name calling he was castigated as stupid, insensitive or ignorant
of policy details. He continued to communicate with the American
people he loved and trusted. He had consummate faith in the ability
of human beings of all races, religions and nations to live free
and unfettered under leaders of their own selection. He proved
his point by helping countries reach these goals despite an avalanche
of criticism from the self-anointed elites who presumed to know
better. He wove stories, told jokes, issued directives and firmly
moved Asia and Latin America toward democracy.
Ferdinand Marcos down in the Philippines opening up the island
to free elections. He pressured Chun Doo
Hwan the South Korean authoritarian ruler to step down and trust
his people to select their leaders. In the dirty, ‘unwinnable’ battlefields
of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, he insisted
that corrupt, oppressive regimes - communist or authoritarian
- be replaced by democracies. And they were. By freeing the tiny
island nation of Grenada from communist rule, expelling the Cubans
and keeping the Soviets out of a Latin American base, he restored
America’s faith in judicious use of military power in time
So what would
Reagan think, looking at today’s world beset
with terrorist threats? We can never say with certainty, but
one thing would be clear: he would be proud of George W. Bush,
a president more in line with the Reagan mold of clarity of purpose
and moral vision than any who served since the Gipper. Reagan
would have been appalled by the attacks of 9-11 and would have
immediately mobilized American and allied resources to counterattack.
Would Reagan have taken the war to Afghanistan and Iraq? Undoubtedly.
With his ability to see far beyond the limited horizons of most
of us he probably would already be thinking of ways to liberate
Iran and Syria and to replace the corrupt, venal rulers of Saudi
Arabia with a legitimate, representative government. He would
begin to turn wheels which would grind inexorably toward the
ultimate replacement of the Kim Jong Il dictatorship in North
first choice of a faithful ally would be the United Kingdom.
want to stand shoulder to shoulder with
the UK. Naturally he would try to bring others, especially in
the democratic world, into his alliance. When some whom he thought
should have come but refused, because of political corruption
or moral cowardice, Reagan would have shrugged and accepted the
fact that strong leaders must pursue their vision of the proper
course, not take counsel from those frozen in fear. He would
be courageous, persistent, thick-skinned against carping criticism,
and remain focused on what he knew what right. He would lead!
to lead even to the end. On Nov. 5, 1994, when he became aware
he was stricken with Alzheimer’s disease,
Reagan sat and hand-wrote a note to the American people. In that
note he said, ‘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.’
He has passed that torch to us, to the succeeding generation.
He is charging us with carrying out the vision of America as
the bright, shining beacon on the hill. We have a strong leader,
George W. Bush, and we know that our path is going to be painful,
long and difficult. But we will persist because America continues
to produce men and women with vision who are dedicated to bringing
America and the world into the bright dawn of freedom and democracy.
May God bless America, and may God welcome the immortal soul
of Ronald Reagan into His bosom. CRO
Gordon Cucullu 2004