President Ronald Reagan would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2011, and The Honorable James A. Baker III had the chance to remember his friend, mentor and boss at two recent events.
Baker, who is the honorary chair and namesake for the Baker Institute, served as the 67th secretary of the treasury and as White House chief of staff to President Reagan.
On Feb. 6, Baker delivered the keynote address at a celebration of what would have been President Ronald Reagan"s 100th birthday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in California.
"Ronald Reagan symbolized America"s optimism in his very being. Absolutely nothing could keep this unsinkable man down. Not the hard times, not the criticisms, not even a would-be assassin"s bullet," Baker told the large crowd.
"Of course, there were those who didn"t like Ronald Reagan"s politics or his policies, but they couldn"t dislike the man. They simply could not because he was very simply a beautiful human being in body and in mind and in spirit, and everyone who knew him would agree with that statement."
Baker also had the honor on March 10 of accepting a posthumous award to President Reagan from the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M University. The 2011 George Bush Award for Excellence in Public Service recognizes an individual's or group's dedication to public service at the local, state, national or international levels.
"Few Americans have had as great an impact on their country and, indeed for that matter the world, as Ronald Wilson Reagan. His legacy remains as strong today, if not stronger, as it was when he left office," Baker told the audience at Texas A&M.
David R. Mares
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