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June 10, 2004

Little Rock, 1984

It would have been spring of 1984 and our College Republicans were planning a trip to Little Rock to a GOP Rally where President Reagan himself was to speak. I grabbed one of the school's Video cameras to get footage for our college station and rode along with them. The rally was in some spacious room about the size of two baskteball courts. The media people (not the security, but other reporters) refused to let me sit in the media seats which allowed a close view, so I had to set up off to the side, but I got a nice profile shot of the President, even if it was some 50 to 75 yards away. Just before President Reagan came out, a giant net, full of balloons let loose a shower of red, white and blue balloons on the people in the center of the large room. Our President emerged and we all cheered and clapped, and listened as he promoted several local Republican candidates.

Suddenly from the middle of the crowd came a loud, echoing POP! The room fell deadly silent as we worried whether it was just a balloon or something worse. The silence lasted only a few seconds before Ronald Reagan, always in control of every situation, chuckled and said, "Ha, you missed me." The silence was replaced by peals of laughter filling the hall. The President smiled with us and as the laughter began to subside, calmly continued with his speech.

Returning to campus I found the old video camera failed to record most of what I'd shot, but I still had my memories of seeing the Great Communicator in person, even if from a distance, and treasure that to this day.


Posted by Jack Lewis at June 10, 2004 12:18 PM