March 30, 1981: As I approached my friends at a lunch table in the Student Center at DePaul University, one of my fraternity brothers (we'll call him MC) gleefully strode toward me, laughing as he told me that "somebody shot Reagan." I failed to see the humor, and assumed that MC was merely tweaking me, since his elitist Liberalism and my Conservatism were well known to all our aquaintances. Another friend (we'll call him TZ), one of the two fellow students I knew who openly supported Reagan in 1980, looked grave and invited me to his dorm room to watch the news, explaining on the way that the President had indeed been shot.
The story of Ronald Reagan's character and leadership following the assassination attempt is a tale worth teaching to our children and our children's children, but so is the tale of the mean-spirited reaction of my Liberal friend, who went on to Duke University and is now (I'm not making this up) a trial lawyer. But Ronald Reagan, with his genteel manners, optimism, good cheer and confidence in the rightness of his cause and the providence of God, was for all his career as a Conservative accustomed to rising above the MC's of this world. MC left a cautionary tale about the compassion of Liberals and Ronald Reagan left an example of class worth following and passing on to future generations.