Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ronald W. Reagan

Ronald W. Reagan 40th President of the United States (1981-1989)

Reagan sites that I have visited:

Reagan birthplace and boyhood homes Tampico, IL
 Reagan boyhood home Dixon, IL
  Reagan shooting site Washington Hilton Washington DC
 The Reagans home where Ronald Reagan died Bel Air, CA
Reagan Library, Museum and gravesite Simi Valley, CA

Ronald Reagan birthplace Tampico, IL

I, personally am a big Ronald Reagan fan. So when we took some time to see the sites connected with his early life in Northwestern IL. during our March 2011 western trip, I really enjoyed it! Above is the picture of his birthplace in Tampico, IL. He was born in an upstairs apartment above the bank to the left of the photo. The bank is restored to how it looked when the Reagans lived here. And the area to the right is now a museum and visitors center.

The restored bank. We were the only ones there. So it was like getting a private tour.

The room in which Reagan was born

The Reagan window at the birthplace in Tampico, IL

When we visited the Reagan birthplace the tour guide told us about the Reagan window. There where 3 windows along the side wall of the Reagans upstairs apartment. The windows where there because the section of the building that the Reagans lived in was added at some point, and the original windows to the outside were never removed. There was another family living in the apartment on the other side of the windows. They were good friends of the Reagans. Whenever Reagans mother would have to run errands she would open the window and her 2 boys would pass through the window into the neighbors apartment so that the neighbors could babysit until she got back. In 1992 Ronald Reagan visited his birthplace. When the 81 year old former President took the tour of his own birthplace he came to the window and passed through it again just as he did as a kid. In the last couple of years both of Reagan's sons Micheal and Ron have visited the birthplace and passed through the window. When I visited I couldn't resist asking if I could go through the window. As the picture proves our kind older lady tour guide let me open the window and pass through.

Across the street from the birthplace is another upstairs apartment that the Reagans had lived in at one point. Tampico, IL

Another Reagan boyhood home in Tampico, IL. This one is for sale.

Me at Reagans boyhood home in Dixon, IL.

We actually stopped in Dixon before we went to Tampico. Dixon is a bigger town. This is where Reagan spent his teen years. The house is open to the public, but they were closed the day we stopped by.

The school house that Reagan attended in Dixon

The church where Reagan was baptized as a boy in Dixon

A statue of Reagan in Dixon, IL

This is the site where Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. Washington Hilton, Washington DC

It was on this sidewalk that Reagan was walking on when John Hinkley Jr. opened fire at the President, wounding him.

The Bel Air residence of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. Ronald Reagan died here in 2004. The address was originally '666'. But Nancy had it changed to '668'. Bel Air, CA

I was able to pass by the Bel Air residence of Ronald and Nancy Reagan during a Hollywood Bus tour. Since we couldn't get past the gate, here is an aerial view of the Reagans home that I found on Yahoo

Entrance to the Reagan Library

I didn't really plan for it to happen but 2011 became a big year for me as far as Presidential Libraries go. In March I toured Truman and Hoover. We went to the Eisenhower Center also but were exhausted and decided to skip the Library and Museum part. Which I deeply regret now. Anyways in June I toured the LBJ Library and Bush 41 Library. Then in October I toured the Nixon and Reagan Libraries. For me, my favorite one so far is Reagan. In no small part I'm sure because Reagan is my favorite of the modern Presidents.

The scenery is beautiful out at the Reagan Library

My sister with the Reagan statue at the entrance to the Museum

Reagans Oval office

This Air Force One was used by every President from Nixon to Clinton. On display at the Reagan Library

statues of Reagan and Gorbachev

Ronald Reagans Tomb Simi Valley, CA

Me at the Tomb of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan was a radio personality and actor as a young man. He was President of the Screen Actors Guild and eventually Governor of California before being elected President in 1980.

Today most people on the left look to John F. Kennedy as a recent figure head of their way of thinking. In the same way, people on the right look to Ronald Reagan. Probably his biggest achievement is ending the Cold War. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" is one of his best known sayings. He said it in a speech at the Berlin War.

"Government is not the solution, Government is the problem." was another Reagan quote and it pretty much sums up his domestic policy. He cut taxes and beefed up the military.

He survived an assassination attempt in 1981, which some say broke the Tecumseh curse. The story goes that when Tecumseh is killed in battle by forces led by William Henry Harrison, that Tecumseh's brother 'the Prophet' put a curse on Harrison. When Harrison died  one month after taking office it seemed to start a pattern that every President elected every 20 years starting with Harrison would die in office or be assassinated. So it goes: W. H. Harrison elected 1840, died 1841. Lincoln elected 1860, assassinated 1865. Garfield elected 1880, assassinated 1881. McKinley re elected 1900, assassinated 1901. Harding elected 1920, died 1923. FDR re elected 1940, died 1945. JFK elected 1960, assassinated 1963. I'm not saying there is anything to it but it is a strange coincidence.

Reagan was the oldest President at the time, taking office just a few weeks before his 70th birthday. Donald Trump has since taken office at the age of 70, beating Reagan by a few months. He served 2 full terms. He cut taxes and beefed up the military. Just a few years after he left office he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died in 2004 at the age of 93.

Monday, August 29, 2011

James E. Carter

James E. (Jimmy) Carter 39th President of the United States (1977-1981)
Jimmy Carter sites I have seen:

Birthplace, Boyhood homes, High School, church and many other sites in his hometown of Plains, GA

Carter Center, Library and Museum Atlanta, GA

Until recently The Jimmy Carter page on this blog of mine has been the only page that I didn't have any sites to post to it. But going down to Disney, and coming back in June 2013 changed that in a big way. So here we go...

Me at the Main Street sign in Plains, GA. Birthplace and hometown of Jimmy Carter

Historical marker at the former Wise Sanitarium, birthplace of Jimmy Carter in Plains, GA. It is now the Lillian Carter Nursing home, named for Jimmy's mother

Birthplace of Jimmy Carter, He's the first President born in a Hospital

Me at Jimmy Carters birthplace. I had just gotten some peanut butter ice cream from the Main St. area that was melting fast.

Jimmy Carters parents were renting a room in this house when Jimmy was born. So this is where they brought the infant Jimmy home after he was born. Making this his first house. Jimmy's mother Miss Lillian lived here in here final years. It slipped my mind to look this house up while in Plains, However I did walk right past it, not realizing the Carter connection to the house until I got home. So I found this picture of the house on Google.

Boyhood farmhouse of Jimmy Carter in Plains, GA

Me at the boyhood home of Jimmy Carter

Living room of Jimmy Carters boyhood home

Jimmy's room

Plains High School. Where both Jimmy and First Lady Rosalyn Carter attended school. Now it's the headquarters of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site. With a small museum inside.

Picture of the Carters on there wedding day. In the former High School

My kids and I see things from the Presidents point of view.

Keeping the kids in line

Plains Baptist Church. Jimmy Carter was baptized here and tought Sunday School here until he left for Washington to be President. He changed churches when the pastor here refused to allow a black guest speaker.

Jimmy, Roslyn and their 3 sons lived in this house at one point. It has been dubbed the Haunted House over the years.

Carter family gravesite. Jimmys parents and brother Billy are buried here

Me at the Carter gravesite. James Sr. Miss Lillian and Billy in the front

Carter historic marker in downtown Plains

This old train station was converted into the Jimmy Carter Presidential Campaign Headquarters in 1976. It is now part of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site.

Inside the old train station

Monument to Carter

Jimmys brother Billy ran this gas station while Jimmy was President
The famous smiling peanut

The Carter Center. It's on the same property as the Carter Library and Museum. But it is privately funded. They work as mediators between feuding nations, and try to help fight certain diseases wherever they can. My cousin from Atlanta set up a private tour of the center, So the next few pictures are sort of behind the scenes.

All around the center are various hand paintings that President Carter himself painted. These are paintings he made of his parents.

Rosalyn Carters private office when she is at the center.

Behind these doors is a living area set aside for the Carters when there are here.

I thought this was interesting

Jimmy Carters office when he is here. With a replica of the resolute desk.

A painting that Carter made of himself painting

A painting this Jimmy Carter made of a young Rosalyn

A waiting area in the Carter Center

Picture of Jimmy and his brother Billy. This is the last of the 'behind the scenes' pictures. It was really cool to see the area of the Center that most don't get access to. Now on to the Library - Museum area.

Entrance to the Carter Library and Museum area of the facility.

The cloths that Jimmy and Rosalyn wore on their wedding day.

Replica of Carters Oval Office

Nicky and I in the Museum

The sweater that Carter wore in his famous televised "fireside chat" to the nation

Khloe points out the Mickey Mouse ears in the display

The Camp David Accord was Carters proudest moment as President. It was a peace treaty that he negotiated between Egypt and Isreal.

This next part is probably the coolest thing to happen in this hobby since I shook hands with President George H. W. Bush in 1992 at age 11. When you travel far and wide to visit a Presidents hometown, house, birthplace ect... It is usually a President long ago dead and buried. So when you see their sites you try to imagine what things were like when they were here. But when you visit Plains it is different. Because the President is still there. And is accessible if you really want to see him.

President Carter teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church several times a year. I was very lucky that on the weekend I was traveling down to Disney he was teaching. So I adjusted my schedule to make sure that I would be able to attend.

A friend of mine who had attended before advised me to be there at 7am. So I did and we were the first there. But it didn't take long for others to start strolling in. The first few carloads of us hovered around our cars. When this same friend advised me to jump up to the door, via facebook, I did and became the first in line. The others quickly left there cars and got behind me. This was all very good since about 5 minutes later a large tour bus showed up. I was very glad to be ahead of them.

Doors to the church opened around 830 am. I was first in line but I had more personal affects on me. So one other guy got through before me. I then decided to take the end seat on the second row, since the first guy took the end seat on the first row. This was a great seat. Now this whole time my wife and 3 young kids were hanging out in the van watching movies. We figured that it would be rough on them trying to behave and stay still from 7 am until church was over at noon. But I started to wonder how the photo op would work out after church. I wanted them to be in the picture, but they would have to go through security at some point if they wanted to get close to a former President. So as I sat there I asked Miss Jan what I should do. She is the lady who explains the proper ways to conduct yourself around President Carter. She said to bring them on in and that there was a nursery room that they could play in during the service.

So it was all set. 10am rolled around and President Carter came up to the front to teach Sunday School. The lesson was on Hebrews and how Christians should return to the basic principles of our faith. Throughout the service I was mostly within 5 to 10 ft from President Carter as he taught. It was a good lesson and a great all around experience.

After the sermon I went in the back and round up my family and they ushered us to the front of the line with the rest of the families. As we approached President and Mrs. Carter I was holding me 5 month old son Grant, Jimmy got a big smile on his face and asks how old he was and what his name was. I answered and quickly prepared for the picture. After the picture I thanked him as my wife thanked Rosalyn. As my wife passed President Carter he extended his hand out to shake her hand. Which was kind of funny because Miss Jan instructed all of us not to extend a hand out to them. It was an amazing experience!

Now we are back to Plains. This is Maranatha Baptist Church, current church of the Carters

President Carter just before Sunday School

My family with President and Mrs. Carter in June 2013

In 1976 Jimmy Carter was an outsider who had nothing to do with the chaos of the 1960's and 70's up to that point. The one term Governor of Georgia campaigned hard and pulled off an impressive victory, considering few people outside of  Georgia knew who he was before the campaign.

Today Carter is better known for his charitable post Presidency than his actual Presidency. Carter is now living out the longest post Presidency in American history and is also the 2nd Longest lived President in history behind George HW Bush.