Editor, We had a wonderful time at the centennial birthday celebration for Ronald Reagan, which was sponsored by the Southwest Georgia Republican Women. It truly was an honor to meet Reagan’s son, Michael, and share some of my stories of respect and admiration for his father. At the state funeral of our late President Ronald Wilson Reagan, I was one of two American citizens selected to make a global tribute, which was televised around the world. See the video on YouTube titled “Flagman Reagan State Funeral.”
As a child, I was inspired by Mr. Reagan’s movies. I can recall quite vividly watching “20 Mule Team Borax presents ‘Death Valley Days’” and the old “G.E. True Theater.” Some of his early movies stirred the consciousness of America in the 1950s and ’60s and changed my life. Three movies that were very special to me personally were “The Hasty Heart,” “Storm Warning” and “The Santé Fe Trail.”
Reagan was involved in the making of more than 300 military training films during World War II. After President Harry Truman integrated the United States military, Reagan then journeyed to England to make a movie called “The Hasty Heart” in 1949. Allied soldiers of all races and nationalities were admitted to a Burmese hospital and assigned to the same ward. They dealt with a sensitive issue of hate and bigotry; however, they managed to make peace among themselves. In the movie “Storm Warning” made in 1951, Reagan played the role of a dedicated district attorney for a murder case against the Ku Klux Klan. The “Santé Fe Trail” is one of the more memorable pre-civil war movies dealing with John Brown and the issue of slavery.
Although Reagan never had any direct involvement with the civil rights movement, those movies stirred the soul and perception of many Americans. A brave race of people started a quest in search of a “shining city on a hill.” Their rendezvous with destiny was justified. In 1983, Congress passed and Reagan signed into law the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday bill.
Many people are not afforded the opportunity to attend such a prestigious event. I am quite thankful to have been a part of one.
— Ted “Flagman” Harris