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UPDATE: President Reagan's Optimism, Courage, and Humility Remembered on 30th Anniversary of Assassination Attempt


March 29, 2011 - Simi Valley, CA

Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan became the first sitting U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. From the dark moments of initial diagnosis through America's hope for his speedy recovery, Ronald Reagan never lost his deeply held virtues of optimism, courage, and humility.

"A single bullet, which nearly took the life of one of America's greatest Presidents, altered the course of history forever," said Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation John Heubusch. "The effect this experience had on Ronald Reagan is clear from his diary and personal accounts. He was convinced his life was spared so that he could pursue peace. President Reagan lived to help end the Cold War and see freedom improve the lives of hundreds of millions."

Moments before surgery, President Reagan removed his oxygen mask to joke, "I hope you are all Republicans." Dr. Joseph Giordano answered, "Today, Mr. President we are all Republicans."

Upon returning to the White House on April 25th, President Reagan received a standing ovation from his Cabinet and staff. Referring to their teamwork in his absence, he replied, "I should be thanking you."

The attempted assassination was a pivotal moment in President Reagan's life, and a transformational moment for the world. Ronald Reagan's courage and determination to reassure the American people despite his pain transformed this horrifying act of violence into an inspirational story.

Believing that his life was spared for a reason, President Reagan wrote this in his autobiography, "An American Life," "Perhaps having come so close to death made me feel I should do whatever I could in the years God had given me to reduce the threat of nuclear war."

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation honors the optimism, courage, and humility President Reagan exhibited throughout his life -- and particularly on this day -- with an exhibit at the newly renovated Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Museum and Library.

The A Greater Purpose Gallery, unveiled on President Reagan's 100th birthday as a part of the year-long Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, includes the following artifacts:

  • The blue pinstripe suit President Reagan was wearing that day, never before seen, with bullet hole visible;
  • Chest x-ray showing the lodged bullet;
  • Video re-enactment of the critical moments inside George Washington University Hospital -- featuring actual operating room staff;
  • Dramatic video experience of the moment the shooting happened; and more.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Museum and Library is open 10:00 am - 5:00 pm every day of the week, excluding some holidays. Visit: www.reaganfoundation.org for more information, or to plan your visit today.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Ronald Reagan's legacy of inspired freedom and his timeless principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy, and national pride. It sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, the Reagan Center for Public Affairs, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Presidential Learning Center and The Air Force One Pavilion. Located in Simi Valley, California, the Library houses 63 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 60,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It now also serves as the final resting place of America's 40th President. www.reaganfoundation.org

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