An hour south of Santa Barbara, inland from the gorgeous 101, nesting peacefully atop a hill, overlooking a one of a kind view of Simi Valley rests the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Since we moved north to Santa Barbara, I had been dying to go and finally, one Sunday we got our chance.
It was a gorgeous day; the bright blue sky was polka dotted with fluffy white clouds and the sun was peeking through ever so slightly. The wind was still and the air smelt fresh from a week of rain. It was for lack of a better word; perfect.
I slowed the car down so much that we were barely nudging up the hill. I didn’t care; I wanted to take in every last moment of our time there. I was already mesmerized by the landscapes, the history and the views. The long and winding drive way was lined with each President’s name and face as you climbed the road to the top. Outside the library were elephant shaped bushes sporting red bows left over from Christmas and a magical fountain glistening in the sun’s rays. There was a copper statue of the man himself, Ronald Reagan, outside the entrance greeting you with a smile. I could almost cry I was so excited.
Dave and I got our tickets and proceeded through the Library and Museum. Online, the Library suggests giving yourself 3-4 hours to get through the entire museum and library, but we took six. From the moment we entered, we were greeted with faces and smiles of Reagan. Beginning with his childhood and taking us through his entire life: from childhood and his acting career to meeting Nancy and becoming the Governor of California through his years as President of the United States and finishing with his death and his everlasting legacy. Complete with the actual Air Force One plane and a mini series of different limos, presidential cars and helicopters, this Presidential Library was everything I had imagined and more.
After we spent hours wandering around the entire Library, reading every little plaque and viewing all the videos that were offered we finished our evening by paying our respects at Reagan and Nancy’s gravesite while the sun set behind us on Simi Valley. I was overcome with emotion and couldn’t stop the tears from flooding out the corners of my eyes. Oddly enough, even when I read books about The Great Communicator I am overcome with emotion. His life, his legacy, his vision for America are all things I so greatly look up to it’s always felt as if I knew the man on a personal level.
Seeing how much I loved the Library, Dave and I decided to become members so that we could come back at any time with family and friends to view the legend that we both respect and look up to so dearly.
Throughout his life Ronald Reagan said many inspiring things that brought a once broken nation together. I often refer to his words wen I’m in need of a little inspiration of my own and wanted to share a few of my favorites:
– “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”
-“Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid”
-“My fondest hope is that Americans will travel the road extending forward from the arch of experience, never forgetting our heroic origins, never failing to seek divine guidance as we march boldly and bravely into a future limited only by our capacity to dream.”
-“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”