What Reagan did more than anything else - and it will be his lasting legacy - is replace despair with hope. Most people, even his detractors, felt a glow from being in his presence. He was the kindest, most gracious president I have met, and I have met them all since JFK. In his presence you felt he was interested in you and not himself. He was a good man.
Mistakes? He made a few, but then again, too few to mention. He was the right man in the right job at the right time. The world is different because Ronald Reagan came our way.
Following the assassination attempt in 1981, Reagan said he felt God had spared him for a purpose, and he intended to devote the rest of his life in dedication to his God and to that purpose.
He has now - as he noted in his eulogy for the Challenger astronauts who died in 1986, a quote from John Gillespie Magee - "slipped the surly bonds of earth . . . put out (his) hand and touched the face of God."
Reagan used to say that America's greatest days are ahead of it. Now it can be said, so are his.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.