Rep. Bruce Westerman

In his 1967 Inaugural Address, then California Governor Ronald Reagan

spoke about his vision for democracy. “Perhaps you and I have lived

with this miracle too long to be properly appreciative. Freedom is a

fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from

extinction. It is not ours by inheritance, it must be fought for and

defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a


This week I had the opportunity to visit the Ronald Reagan Center in

California with fellow members of the Congressional Western Caucus.

This year is the 110th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth, and

standing in a museum next to his jeep and horse saddle, I was reminded

of the incredible legacy he has left behind.

President Reagan revitalized the Conservative movement and transformed

the Republican Party into one that unified the American people around

our shared ideals of freedom and democracy. He believed in working

together for the betterment of our society, as he did so often with

members of Congress from across the aisle, without negotiating away

core values. Common ground and compromise were goals to be achieved,

not dirty words to be avoided. That is a lesson we can all continue to

learn from today. Regardless of one’s political leanings, President

Reagan continues to be a model for unity around our shared values as


Memorial Day was a timely reminder of the truth of his words. We must

never become complacent with the blessing we have enjoyed because of

the sacrifice of others. Freedom is fragile. It is our duty to protect

what men and women have fought and died for so that our children can

continue to live with the same liberty we have known all our lives. I

thank God for President Reagan’s life and the impact he made on the

nation and the world.

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