The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Illinois Has Had It's Great Leaders President Reagan Would Have Been 102 Today

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher/Owner

February 6, 2013

Today (Feb. 6th) is an Illinois born President's 102nd Birthday and yes it is in February and it is that of 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.

He was called the "Great Communicator" for his ability to get through to ordinary Americans and give them hope and optimism for their own future and that of their country.

Despite his lifelong opposition to "big" government, he was credited with restoring faith in the U.S. government and the presidency after a long era of disillusionment in the wake of Nixon, Vietnam and economic hardship under Carter.

In reading his history, I found it very interesting that he grew up poor, but remembers having an "idyllic childhood" here in Illinois, and after playing football at Eureka college, he graduated during the "Great Depression" with few job prospects, like many.

He soon began working in radio in Iowa broadcasting for football and other sports. While on a spring training trip with the Chicago Cubs, he was in California and he got in touch with a former colleague at WHO in Des Moines who connected him with a Hollywood agent, and Reagan was soon signed to a seven year acting contract with Warner Brothers.

"Reagan won the role he would become known for, the football player George Gipp of Notre Dame University in Knute Rockne - All-American. The film told the story of the legendary Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne (played by Pat O'Brien), who died in a plane crash in 1931. Gipp was the walk-on who became Rockne's star player and died of a throat infection two weeks after his final game. As Reagan later recounted in his memoir, he convinced the filmmakers (who wanted a taller, heavier actor for the part) that he could play Gipp by showing them a picture of himself in his college football uniform. During his political career, Reagan would reprise the now-immortal line "Win one for the Gipper" from his deathbed scene in the film."

He maintained a high approval rating wherever he went, President of the Screen Actors Guild, GE company spokesman, California Governor, United States President (at 69 oldest man in history to take the oath). Sixteen years after leaving the office he died at age 93 of Alzheimer's on June 5, 2004. Many feel his February Illinois birth is perfect. It puts him with Lincoln and Washington's holiday to remember the great Presidents.