`George - make it one more for the Gipper'

The Independent Archive: 17 August 1988 Ronald Reagan has said his farewells as US President to the Republican Convention. This is an edited text of his address
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THIS CONVENTION brings back so many memories to a fellow like me. I can still remember my first Republican Convention. Abraham Lincoln giving a speech that sent tingles down my spine. No, I have to confess, I wasn't actually there. But surely we can remember another convention. Eight years ago, we gathered in Detroit in a troubled time for our beloved country. And we gathered solemnly to share our dreams.

In 1980, we needed every bit of that kind of faith. That year, it was our dream that together we would rescue America and make a New Beginning - to create anew that shining city on a hill. The dream we shared was to reclaim our government - transform it from one that was consuming our prosperity into one that would get out of the way of those who created prosperity. It was a dream of again making our nation strong enough to preserve world peace and freedom and to recapture our national destiny. We made a determination that our dream would not be built on a foundation of sand - something called "Trust Me Government" - but we would trust, instead, the American spirit.

Eight years ago, we met at a time when America was in economic chaos - and today, we meet in a time of economic promise. We met then in international distress and today with global hope. Virtually all this change occurred - and continues to occur - in spite of the resistance of those liberal elites who loudly proclaim that it's time for a change. They resisted our defence build-up: they resisted our tax cuts; they resisted cutting the fat out of government; and they resisted our appointments of judges committed to the law and the Constitution. None of our achievements happened by accident, but only because we overcame liberal opposition. Without George Bush to build on those policies, everything will be at risk.

This office is not mine to give - only you, the people, can do that. But I love America too much and care too much about where we will be in the next few years. To preserve what we have and not risk losing it all - America needs George Bush. And Barbara Bush as first lady. With George Bush, I'll know, as we approach the new millennium, our children will have a future secure with a nation at peace and protected against aggression; we'll have safe and active neighbourhoods; drug-free schools that send our children soaring in the atmosphere of great ideas and deep values; and a nation confidently willing to take its leadership into the uncharted reaches of a new age. So, George, just one personal request; go out there and make it one more for the Gipper.

You in this room, and millions like you watching and listening tonight, are selfless and dedicated to a better world. That's why we're here, isn't it? A better world. I know I've said this before, but I believe that God put this land between the two great oceans to be found by special people from every corner of the world who had extra love for freedom that prompted them to leave their homelands and come to this land to make a brilliant light beam of freedom to bring it all together - well these are what make America soar - up where you can see hope billowing in those freedom winds.

We lit a prairie fire a few years back. Those flames were fed by passionate ideas and convictions, and we were determined to make them burn all across America. What times we've had! Together we've fought for causes we love. But we can never let the fire go out or quit the fight, because the battle is never over. Our freedom must be defended over and over again. And then again. There's still a lot of brush to clear out at the ranch, fences that need repair and horses to ride. But I want you to know that, if the fires ever dim, I'll leave my phone number and address behind just in case you need a foot soldier. Just let me know, and I'll be there - as long as words don't leave me and as long as this sweet country strives to be special during its shining moment on Earth.

From the Foreign pages of `The Independent', Wednesday 17 August 1988

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