Considered by many to be the first truly conservative President in over 50 years, President Reagan focused on lessening the role the federal government in addressing social problems, gave more freedom to business, and pursued tax cuts on the domestic front. Abroad, President Reagan stood firm and strong against the spread of communism and as a result the Berlin Wall came down after decades of dividing East from West. He unflaggingly pursued a strong, well-armed military and supported the MX missile system and the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Though the U.S. economy saw some rocky times under President Reagan, he was willing to adjust his policies for the better and when he left office, the nation was experiencing its sixth consecutive year of economic prosperity despite a record annual deficit and a growing national debt.
During his eight years in office Reagan achieved his wish and goal of going "down in history as the President who made Americans believe in themselves again."
From President Reagan's farewell speech, January 11, 1989:
"We've been together 8 years now, and soon it'll be time for me to go. ... It's been the honor of my life to be your President. ...Happy birthday, Mr. President. Viva la Revolucion!
[B]ecause we're a great nation, our challenges seem complex. It will always be this way. But as long as we remember our first principles and believe in ourselves, the future will always be ours. ... We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world.
... The past few days when I've been at that window upstairs, I've thought a bit of the "shining city upon a hill." ... But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.
And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.
... And as I walk off into the city streets, a final word to the men and women of the Reagan revolution, the men and women across America who for 8 years did the work that brought America back. My friends: We did it. We weren't just marking time. We made a difference. We made the city stronger, we made the city freer, and we left her in good hands. All in all, not bad, not bad at all."
Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.