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感谢您, 罗纳德·里根

2006-07-12 19:24

  You wrote us that extraordinary letter, in your own hand, to let us know that you were falling victim to Alzheimer's disease .You spoke of other families suffering with the disease. You worried about your wife. Then you chose these words to comfort the nation: “I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

  Thank you again, I thought, showing us the way.

  You've always had that capacity — not just because you're a natural leader, but because of your great personal strength. My mind went back to a day when we were all picking up our papers and leaving the table after a Cabinet meeting. I literally bumped into you. Now, I'm a pretty big guy, but it was like bumping into a redwood. And it struck me at the time — that’s you inside and out, solid in your stance, solid in your beliefs.

  Your critics always said you weren't a “detail” man, Thank you for that. What great leader is? There are plenty of people to handle the details. You knew instinctively that the President must above all lead.

  I've been following your path for many years, from the day you invited me to come to Washington to be director of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  I crossed my fingers, packed up and moved form North Carolina. It was a chance, I thought, to help make a difference in the world. I never realized what a different world it would soon be.

  Thank you, too, for believing in us. When you came to the White House we were sinking in a sea of high taxes, high interest rates and low morale. Politicians and pundits alike told us that we had to resign ourselves to a new era of “ limits”。

  You were undaunted. With an utter faith that government was the problem, not the solution. You released our creative energies and entrepreneurial spirit.

  You cut the highest income-tax rate from 70 percent (yes, 70!) to 33 percent, energized investment by cutting the capital-gains tax, and brought tax relief to every income group.

  Result: the longest peacetime rise in prosperity in the nation's history. During your Presidency interest rates dropped sharply, and inflation was slashed to less than three percent. Twenty million new jobs were created, most of them in the higher-skilled, high-tech, higher-paying areas. The average American family had thousands of dollars more a year to spend on its own needs instead of feeding the IRS.

  Thank you, also, for creating for us almost an ideal of the way the Presidency should be carried.

  Your manner sprang form the fact that even though you were President, you were always yourself. You never had to prove anything. I'll never forget the day you phoned me when I was Secretary of Education. The call came in out of the blue “ Hello, Bill,” came your familiar poem that pays tribute to teachers?“ you asked.

  “No, Mr. President,” I confessed.

  “Well, let me get it to you,” you answered.

  I thought you'd get some side to look it up, copy it and fax it to my office. But no, you wrote it out longhand, from memory, and sent it over, as if you were a neighbor eager to share something.

  Finally, Mr. President, thank you for being there when the nation needed your hope, your courage and sometimes just your reassurance. When the Challenger astronauts died before our very eyes in 1986, you put a comforting hand on our shoulders and spoke so simply. “I know it's hard to understand that sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery, It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted. It belongs to the brave.”

  感谢您, 罗纳德·里根

  您亲手给我们写了那封特别的信,让我们了解到您正受着早老性痴呆病之苦。您谈到许多其他家庭亦遭受此难。您担心着您的夫人。接着人您以这些言语来慰藉国人:“现在,我开始踏上前往生命夕阳处的旅程。我明白对于美国来说前方永远是黎明。”

  我想我要再次向您表示感谢,感谢您为我们指明道路。

  您素来就有这种能力—不仅是因为您是位有天赋的领袖,而是因为您伟大的人格力量。我的思绪又回到那时,在一次数内阁会议后当我们全都收拾文件即将离开会席时。我与您撞个正着。我是个大块头,可却犹如撞在一棵巨杉上。当时这深深地触动了我—— 那就是您无论内外,都具有坚定的立场,坚定的信仰。

  您的批评家总是说您是个不拘细节的人。幸亏如此。有哪位伟大领袖是那样的呢?具体事情自有许多别人去做。你敏锐地洞察到总统首先就是要领导。

  自打您邀请我来到华盛顿负责国家慈善捐助机构时起,多年来我一直奉行着您的路线。我祈求好运,收拾行囊从北卡罗莱纳到了华盛顿。我觉得这是个机遇,能使世界迥然不同。可我从未想到这个不同的世界来得如此之快。

  再次感谢您对我们的信任。当您入主白宫时我们正处在高税收,高利率和颓废的苦海中。政客们及权威们对我们说我们只能寄听命于一个新的“极限”时代。

  您毫无畏惧。您坚信问题源于政府,而非具体的解决办法,为此您放手发动我们的创造力和进取精神。

  您将居高不下的所得税率从百分之七十(是的,百分之七十!)降到百分之三十三,通过降低资本收益税来盘活投资,并减轻了所有收入阶层的纳税。

  结果:带来了国家历史上最长和平时期的蒸蒸日上。在您执政期间利率急剧降低,通货膨胀率被削减到低于百分之三。这创造了两千万个就业机会,大多数就业机会来自高科技和高收入的领域。平均每个美国家庭一年增加了几千美金用于自己的开销而非填给国内收入署。

  再次感谢您,给我们塑造了总统一个几乎完美的形象。

  您的学生举止告诉我们即使您是总统,您也始终不失自我。您从不需证明什么。始终令我难忘您打电话给我。电话来的出乎意料。“你好,比尔,”传来您熟悉的声音。“我想知道有没有一首向教师表示敬意的诗文,”您问道。

  我承认说:“不知道,总统先生。”

  您答道:“那么,让我给您一首吧。”

  我原以为您会叫助手去查查,复印后传真到我的办公室来。但却不是,您凭着记忆亲笔书写了这首诗,将它送来,好像是一位急于与别人分享某件快事的邻居。

  最后,总统先生,感谢您当国人需要您的希望,您的勇气以及有时仅仅是您的安慰时,您就在那里。1986年当我们亲眼目睹挑战者号的宇航员遇难时,您将充满安抚的手放在我们肩膀上非常简洁地说:“我明白有时象这样痛苦的事情发生是令人难以理解的。这是探索与发现过程中必不可少的部分。这是从冒险和拓宽人类视野的事业的必要部分。未来不属于怯懦的人。它属于勇敢者。”

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