Happy Birthday Ronald Reagan: The 40th U.S. President’s Best Moments

by Emily Morgan

Feb. 6 marks what would have been Ronald Reagan’s 110th birthday; as a way to say happy birthday to the former commander-in-chief, we’re looking back at some of his best moments. 

A Time For Choosing 

One of the most memorable speeches ever given by a president has to be Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing.” Also known as “The Speech”, Reagan delivered it during the 1964 U.S. presidential election campaign on behalf of Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. The speech would act as the impetus to launch Reagan onto the national stage. 

Decades after its delivery, the speech remains one of the most influential speeches ever made by a soon-to-be presidential candidate. Soon afterward, Reagan ran for Governor of California and won his race in 1966. Reagan was later dubbed the “Great Communicator” in recognition of his extraordinary skills as an orator. 

‘I’m Paying For This Microphone, Mr. Green!’

During his 1980 presidential run, a local New Hampshire newspaper sponsored the debate against George H.W. Bush.

After the FEC ruled the sponsorship an illegal contribution to the campaign and Bush refused to pay half the cost, Reagan paid for the entire debate himself and decided to include five other candidates. 

As Reagan attempted to include the five other candidates, the debate’s moderator turned his microphone off. Reagan then delivered his famous response: “I’m paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!” The other candidates were not allowed in the debate, but Reagan won New Hampshire, 50 percent to Bush’s 23 percent.

The Presidential Debate Against Jimmy Carter

During the final presidential debate of the 1980 election, President Jimmy Carter attacked Reagan’s position on health care. Incumbent Carter argued that Reagan opposed Medicare while he was arguing for universal health insurance. 

Reagan responded in his now-famous words, “There you go again.” The final blow to Carter would come when he posed an important question to the American people: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

The 40th Anniversary of D-Day

On the 40th anniversary of D-Day, President Reagan addressed the American Rangers who fought on the infamous day. Delivering his speech from Normandy, France, Reagan compared D-Day to the fight against communism. 

He concluded his speech with a powerful statement: “Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their value, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”

President Reagan’s Acting Career

Before becoming the leader of the free world, Reagan appeared in numerous films and television shows. In 1937, he earned his first screen credit with a role in the movie Love Is on the Air. By the end of 1939, he had already appeared in 19 films. 

In 1942, Reagan was ordered to active military duty in San Francisco and never got the chance to pursue acting professionally. However, after his military service, he co-starred in films such as The Voice of the TurtleJohn Loves MaryThe Hasty HeartBedtime for BonzoCattle Queen of MontanaTennessee’s PartnerHellcats of the Navy, and his final movie, the 1964 remake of  The Killers.