Saul Singer outdoes himself in his Jerusalem Post column on the passing of Ronald Reagan: “Goodbye, freedom man.”
Singer adapts the heading for his column from Reagan’s final Oval Office address. Singer writes:
In his final Oval Office address in 1989, Reagan told a story of an American sailor patrolling the South China Sea. “The crew spied on the horizon a leaky little boat. And crammed inside were refugees from Indochina hoping to get to America. …As the refugees made their way through the choppy seas, one spied the sailor on deck and stood up and called out to him. He yelled, ‘Hello, American sailor. Hello, freedom man.'”
“A small moment with a big meaning,” said Reagan. “Because that’s what it was to be an American in the 1980s. We stood, again, for freedom. I know we always have, but in the past few years the world again, and in a way, we ourselves rediscovered it.”
After 9/11, America rediscovered that the quest for freedom could not exclude a particularly recalcitrant region, the Middle East. It is a notion that even today is widely met with skepticism and derision. Someday, however, as in the case of other global conflicts, we will look back and see that peace was not possible without victory, and freedom was victory’s measure. Ronald Reagan was the father of moral clarity. He remains an inspiration for the road ahead.