The book is filled with interesting stories about the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter years, as well as the Reagan tenure. But there are no salacious tidbits of gossip—the stuff of tell-all books written by purveyors of innuendo and helped along by a few disreputable miscreants who sell their souls and betray vital trusts for selfish reasons. In the Secret Service is a reminder that there are some—many, many—dedicated public servants who do their jobs because they have integrity and a sense of mission above and beyond themselves.
Parr was uniquely positioned to observe the impact of the shooting on Ronald Reagan, particularly his faith that God had spared him for a purpose. Reagan was comfortable talking about spiritual things because they were, indeed, very real to him. In fact, the book is really a story of God’s grace—in Reagan’s life, and the lives of Jerry and Carolyn Parr. It is also a story of finding and doing God’s will.
After the events of March 30, 1981 were long in the rear view mirror, and Mr. Reagan had fully recovered, Jerry Parr asked him, “Did you know you were an agent of your own destiny?” He told the president about the visit to that Florida movie house back in 1939, and how he saw the film many, many times thereafter. It inspired a little boy to become an agent like Brass Bancroft. Reagan smiled and in a typical use of humor replied: “It was one of the cheapest films I ever made.”
It was also—in a very real sense—the most important one he ever made. Nancy Reagan said, “Jerry put himself in harm’s way to protect Ronnie, and I am forever grateful.”
So are we.