• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Courage Under Gunfire

    Thirty years ago today, Ronald Reagan almost joined the ranks of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, James Garfield, and William McKinley as the fifth assassinated president. President Reagan initially seemed to have escaped unharmed when shots were fired on March 30, 1981 outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. But, in the presidential limousine, Reagan began spitting up blood and complaining about his breathing. He insisted on walking into the emergency room of George Washington Hospital, where he collapsed.

    Although the bullet had stopped only one inch from his heart and he lost over half of his blood, the president’s remained an example of grace under pressure. As he was wheeled into the operating room, he noted the long faces of his three top aides—James Baker, Ed Meese, and Michael Deaver—standing in the hall and asked, “Who’s minding the store?” When a distraught Nancy Reagan made her way to him, he lightly said, “Honey, I forgot to duck.” During his recovery, he cracked jokes with the nurses—a difficult feat when one has a breathing tube. “Everybody knows,” wrote James Reston of The New York Times, “that people seldom act in the margin between life and death with such light-hearted valor as they do in the movies. Yet Ronald Reagan did.”

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Courage Under Gunfire

    1. Bobbie says:

      Wasn't old enough to vote but sure am grateful to those that did! What a remarkable man! Mr Reagan, like Ron Paul etc, is the kind of "cool" I appreciate! It comes with strength, endurance, integrity, discipline etc,. Something severely lacking today.

    2. Pingback: Courage Under Gunfire | Big Propaganda

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×