The Kennedy Center reception area was filled with conservative notables like Sen. Fred Thompson and columnist George Will, everyone excited to celebrate Reagan's 98th birthday. When moderator Sam Donaldson walked on stage to introduce film, the crowd was surprised. But, the former ABC White House correspondent, known for pressing Reagan during his presidency, was nothing but complimentary. He confirmed the reputation Reagan had for charming even those who disagreed with him.
The 90-minute film, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich, included famous and rarely seen photographs, and commentary by James Baker III, Fred Barnes, William J. Bennett, Lou Cannon, Linda Chavez, Marlin Fitzwater, Jack Kemp, Ed Meese, P.J. O'Rourke, Richard Perle and Michael Reagan, among others.
In 1981, I was born into Reagan's America. Little did I know how this great American would change the world. He had impeccable vision, enduring humanity and timeless charm. Watching the film, I wished I'd been able to appreciate Reagan during his presidency. Few people could match him -- politically or personally.