25 YEARS AGO AT LAKE PLACID
Think back to where you were 25 years ago. I lived in Monterey, California. I was just out of the Army and School, young, broke and my whole life ahead of me. This period of time for me was difficult, not for the obvious reasons, but because I was embarrassed to be an American.
Americans were taken hostage in Iran months earlier and our President couldn't bring himself to do the right thing. He wasn't able to "bear any burden" when this crisis was thrust upon us, so he thought we ought to "bear any humiliation" instead. Had this weakling of a President done the right thing at that time, our nation wouldn't be facing the situation we find ourselves in today. The Cold War was still on when the world gave birth to terrorism.
Everything in our Nation seemed to be upside down, from interest rates to the hostages. No matter how you looked at it, our Nation was in trouble.
Then one evening a bunch of kids playing hockey in Lake Placid made us all swell with pride at being Americans because they beat the USSR in the semi-finals. Life was good again. Things in the world were righted, if only for a short time. I can still hear Al Michaels screaming into the mic as the clock ticked down to zero.
The great feeling we had by being Americans lasted only until the night of Desert One. After that night, the only thing in our future to look forward to was a guy by the name of Ronald Reagan. All I knew about this guy was that he was a movie star, he was from my home state of Illinois, and my grandma loved him. That was enough for me.
I was still young and broke, but the kids from Lake Placid made me feel good about being American again. Reagan would make it last a lifetime.