In this midst of nostalgia for him, it is worth noting that during his lifetime, elites claimed that Ronald Reagan was factually challenged. Just as frequently, he proved them wrong.
“But there was one incident, ad lib, where he told a World War II story, an act of heroism where a pilot, rather than bail out of the plane, stayed with a member of his crew who was wounded so badly he couldn’t bail out,” Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson remembered in an interview with Professor Paul Kengor at Grove City College last year. “The pilot went down with the plane.”
“The press claimed the story came from some movie script.” As it happens, early this year, Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote of “Reagan’s habit of endlessly recycling an inspirational World War II anecdote that, as the press discovered, was a movie-spawned fiction.”
“I happened to be in the researcher’s office when the president called and said, ‘That was no movie script. I remember reading it in (I think he said) “Stars and Stripes,”’” Robinson recalled.
“That began three weeks of research, going out to deep Virginia where they warehoused archives,” Robinson remembered. “Lo and behold, it was accurate.”
“He remembered that story from the Second World War.” As it happens, early this year, Frank Rich of the New York Times wrote of “Reagan’s habit of endlessly recycling an inspirational World War II anecdote that, as the press discovered, was a movie-spawned fiction.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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