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Chuck DeVore- Contributor

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore represents 450,000 residents of Orange County California’s 70th Assembly District.. He served as a Reagan White House appointee in the Pentagon from 1986 to 1988 and was Senior Assistant to Cong. Chris Cox. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard. Chuck’s novel, CHINA ATTACKS, sells internationally and has been translated into Chinese for sales in Taiwan. [go to DeVore index]

[Chuck DeVore] 6/7/04

I’ve been thinking about President Ronald Reagan’s life for the past two days. It’s been a time of tears and fond remembrances.

Word of President Reagan’s death came to me while I was in uniform. Within seconds of the news, the soldiers of the 40th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Los Alamitos Armed Forces Reserve Center lowered the flags to half-mast.

As with many Americans, Ronald Reagan changed my life.

President Reagan’s inspirational words and deeds, his strong faith in America and our role in the world, caused me to volunteer for military service in 1983.

President Reagan’s clear communication of vision and values sparked my activism in the Republican Party.

I had the opportunity to hear President Reagan in person speak five times.

By chance, on July 19, 1982, I was in Washington, D.C. for the 90th Anniversary of the College Republicans when the President led a rally for a balanced budget on the lawn of the Capitol.

Two years later, on September 3, 1984, President Reagan spoke at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley, California. It was the official campaign kick-off for Reagan/Bush ’84. I was a 22-year-old Presidential motorcade driver for the event and I got to see President Reagan up close at the Irvine Marriott before the rally (although I was too awestruck to say anything or shake his hand).

President Reagan’s words at the 1984 Orange County rally before over 50,000 people bear thoughtful reflection today:

“In 1980 we said, ‘The time is now to build a new beginning for this beloved nation of ours.’ And in 1984 we're saying that the great crusade we began really never ended; we are just beginning.

“We don't seek a victory for any partisan purpose. Today we set out to achieve a victory for the future over the past, for opportunity over retreat, for hope over despair, and to move up to all that is possible and not down to that which we fear…”

Today we find ourselves thrust into a great struggle between two visions of the world. One, a vision of freedom and peace, the other, a vision of enslavement and hatred. It’s really no different than it was 20 years ago when President Reagan declared in Orange County that, “…we set out to achieve a victory… for opportunity over retreat, for hope over despair…”

On that fine day in September 20 years past, from my vantage point just behind the stage, I could hear the President, but not see him when he continued, “Building prosperity and maintaining our strength also permit us to keep our strong values -- faith, work, family, neighborhood, freedom, and peace. And those are not just words, they're expressions of what America means, definitions of what makes us a good and loving people.

“We must do more than talk about these values; we must restore them and protect them against challenge.”

President Reagan said we must “protect” our values “against challenge.” One wonders what President Reagan would think about 9-11 and today’s struggle to protect our values against brutal savages while some people in America continue to voice doubts about our moral right to defend ourselves.

This I know, President Ronald Reagan would stand foursquare behind President George Bush in his efforts to defend America through victory, not retreat; with hope, not despair.

In this time of national mourning and remembrance, let us recommit ourselves to the task at hand. We are in a struggle for the future of this planet. When we win, freedom wins. Failure is not an option. Let us steel ourselves with resolve, gird ourselves with hope, and prepare the way for victory. Doing this is the best and highest way to honor the legacy of the great man we will soon lay to rest. CRO

Chuck DeVore is the Republican nominee in the 70th State Assembly District.

copyright 2004 Chuck DeVore




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