[FOUNTAIN]The legacy of Reagan lives onRevered as the “first great American,” John Winthrop was the spiritual leader of the Founding Fathers. He studied law at Cambridge University’s Trinity College, but he was forced to resign from the bench when he stood by his Puritan convictions. In 1630, he left England for the New World to manifest his religious belief.
He may have identified himself with Moses in the Old Testament. His voyage to America was a Puritan version of Exodus, following God’s will. He kept a record of the historical journey and preached to his followers onboard the ship carrying them to America.
The New World was a land flowing with milk and honey, and America meant “a shining city upon a hill,” namely a revival of Jerusalem. The Puritans were entrusted with a mission to someday save the Old World they had left. “A shining city upon a hill” was one of the favorite phrases of President Ronald Reagan, who passed away last weekend.
What made Mr. Reagan one of the most respected presidents in the United States was the assassination attempt that came only two months after his inauguration. In March 1981, John Hinckley fired six bullets, one of which hit right near the heart of the president. Having miraculously survived, Mr. Reagan told the Reverend Billy Graham that God had saved him, and the rest of his life belonged to God. His leadership was built on his religious conviction. When Mr. Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” he used religious symbolism. In fact, Mr. Reagan spared no effort to bring down the socialist rival.
Unlike President John F. Kennedy, Mr. Reagan survived an assassination attempt, and unlike President Jimmy Carter, he successfully defeated the evil empire. Mr. Reagan was the president who accomplished the calling Americans inherited from John Winthrop.
With the funeral service at Washington’s National Cathedral yesterday, official rites were completed. The funeral service featured President George W. Bush, who is fighting the “axis of evil.” He is the son of former President George Bush, who was Mr. Reagan’s vice president for eight years.
He is also a born-again Christian thanks to the evangelical effort of Reverend Graham. Mr. Reagan is deceased, but his spirit lives on. His legacy is the American pride and calling.
by Oh Byung-sang
The writer is the London correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.