Ron Reagan wrote the words about his father’s final moments on this earth but could not bring himself to read them out loud again without getting emotional. And so, in a poignant end to an interview with Jon Meacham, Reagan asked the Pulitzer Prize-winner to please read them instead as he, the son of the 40th President of the United States, listened with his head partially bowed in front of a captivated audience at the Jefferson Hotel.
“His eyes found the face of the woman who for more than half a century had formed the core of his private world. ‘I love you honey, I love you’ was all she could say. Was all she needed to say,” began Meacham.
Personal family memories and moments such as these fill the pages of MY FATHER AT 100: A MEMOIR, Ron Reagan’s new book reflecting on the life of his father Ronald Reagan who would have turned 100 years old this February. Researching and writing the book was a son’s tribute to the father he knew and loved behind the presidential pomp and circumstance.
Ron Reagan shared a few of these memories at a book party Monday evening at the Jefferson Hotel co-hosted by Connie Milstein, JC de La Haye Saint Hilaire, Tammy Haddad, and Jon Meacham.
One particular anecdote harkened back to the image of the Hollywood Reagan when he was best known for playing University of Notre Dame varsity football player George “The Gipper” Gipp on the silver screen. As a youngster, Ron knew that when he and his buddies were a man short to play football out on the front lawn that his father, even though busy working as Governor of California, would be up for a game.
“I’d pass by the window with the football,” said Reagan as he mimed tossing a football in the air to the delight of the crowd, “and I knew within half an hour or so he’d be out there. He insisted though that he had to quarterback for both teams, that was his position.”
Reagan was warmly greeted by friends and Washington, D.C. notables including Fred Ryan, President of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and close Nancy Reagan confidante Robert Higdon, now chief of the Prince of Wales Foundation.
Also attending: Senator Maria Cantwell, Tammy Duckworth, Greta Van Susteren and John Coale, Geoff Morrell, Judy Woodruff, Amy Nathan, Steve Scully, Chris Isham, and Roger Simon.
You can watch Jon Meacham and Ron Reagan’s interview below. And for more information on the memoir check out www.ronreagan100.com.