Col. East & Pres. Reagan’s Missed Opportunity
Originally uploaded by simi valley sophist.
President Reagan, like many celebrities, was besieged with people wanting to talk to him or get his autograph. I’ve watched Pres. Reagan being hustled about by security people intent on getting him somewhere safely, and the President reaching out to the adoring public and giving them pre-signed business cards when he was not able to stop and sign autographs. I’ve talked to Secret Service agents and local police officers who have been close to the President, and they all speak adoringly of him as pertaining to the way he treated them. They have the same feelings toward President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney. When I inquire as to their feelings about the Clintons and Kerrys, I get a professional no comment. That speaks volumes to me. I have a theory about judging the worthiness of a political person based upon how he treats the common man. But, I digress from my main theme Of Lt. Col. East and President Ronald Reagan.
Lt. Col. Clyde B. East is one of the most decorated military veterans that this country has ever had the privilege of calling him their own. He flew in WWII, Korea, SE Asia and the Cuban missile crisis. Read about him here and here.
I had the privilege of shaking Col. East's hand and speaking to him for a few moments at the first anniversary memorial for the death of Pres. Reagan last week. See my blog on the Memorial here. Knowing his history before I had the chance to meet him, I knew that he is one of our country’s greatest warriors. I found him to be gracious and humble as well.
Col. East now volunteers his time at the Ronald Reagan Library as a docent. He has done so for over 10 years. While the President lived, the Library had a policy of allowing docents who have volunteered 1,000 hours to meet the President. Col. East was 18 months short of making the 1,000 hours when the President’s health deteriorated such that the program was cancelled. That is a disappointment for Col. East. See an article on it here.
Had Pres. Reagan known of the presence of this great warrior at the Library, it is my guess that the President would have insisted upon meeting Col. East 1,000 hours or no 1,000 hours. I’m sure that Pres. Reagan would have considered it a great honor to have been able to shake Col. East’s hand. That’s just the type of guy the President was. And as for Col. East, there he is still serving the people of this country.
I’m not the kind of person who is awed by celebrity. I would not walk across the street to see or shake the hand of most of what passes for celebrity in this country whether it is a politician, a sports star or an entertainment person. But, I am absolutely honored to have seen Pres. Reagan at the Library and to have met and shook the hand of Col. East: Two great gentlemen who served their country, each in his own way.