Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March 30, 1981: Reagan shot

President Reagan being whisked away by Secret Service just moments after being shot in the chest by gunman John Hinckley.

Do you remember where you were when President Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981?

I was a sixth grader at Highwood Hills Elementary School in St. Paul. I was in the midst of a Science class when it was announced by one of our teachers. As 11 and 12 year old kids, it really didn't resonate since there was mostly a blissful ignorance amongst young people that age (My how times have changed).

I do recall vividly our final class of the day as our teacher, Mr. Woodbeck (an unabashed Reagan supporter), was visibly distraught over the news. As he attempted to teach the class, he would occasionally rub his temple as if he was feeling the onset of a migraine headache. He apologized each time and would do his best to segue back to the lesson. Kinda bizarre to think how a long-time public school teacher in the city of St Paul could be such a militant conservative Republican.

Of course, President Reagan would survive and served two full terms as Commander in Chief. Despite such a harrowing start to his Presidency (it had been little over two months from inauguration to assassination attempt), Ronald Reagan's legacy turned out to be his bold and compassionate leadership, which in turn led to a renewed optimism in the American way.

It goes without saying how much this country needs that kind of guidance thirty years later.



Mr. D said...

I was a senior at Xavier High School in Appleton, Wisconsin. Was sitting in my sociology class. For some reason, the office decided to put the radio broadcast of the news coverage over the p.a., but at the moment they did, it cut to a quick commercial, so at first we were wondering why there was an ad for a local real estate agency going over the p.a. Then, we heard the news. A surreal day.

StarBittrune said...

I was in my 9th grade speech class at Northdale Jr. High. A girl in my class shouted "I knew this would happen!" because of the purported historical pattern of presidents elected in even decades who died in office (i.e., 1840, 1860, 1880, 1900, 1920, 1940, and 1960). Reagan (elected in 1980) defied the pattern. I don't believe in fate, and neither did he.