That may be how Americans feel today, the first day of the new year. In 2012, we had tragedies and political discord and, yes, positive happenings, too. Perhaps we should work hard to remember the latter as we enter 2013.
On Jan. 1, 1982, President Reagan gave this speech that touched on the American spirit (and football, too) — something that should resonate in these early days of the new year.
By Ronald Reagan
Although I know most of the world celebrates the New Year with us today, I think this holiday is an especially American tradition. Most of us are at home or with our families this morning, getting ready to watch the splendor of parades and excitement of football. Later, our families will gather around the dinner table and we’ll pray for guidance and strength in the New Year. Today, we take a short and well-earned break from the building and industry and enterprise that make our country strong. We pause to reflect on the values of God and family and freedom that make us great.
I wish both (Rose Bowl) teams this afternoon the best of luck, but Iowa has a special place in my heart. Years ago, I broadcast their football games on WHO in Des Moines. I find special meaning in that this New Year’s Day this Hawkeye team has made it to the Rose Bowl.
You see, when I knew them back in the 1930s, the Hawkeyes were struggling to get out of one of those low periods that come every once in a while to a school and a team. The first game I broadcast turned out to be the game in which Iowa scored its first touchdown against a Big Ten team in three years. And that marked a turning point in Hawkeye fortunes.
Coach Ossie Solem took Iowa on the comeback trail with men like Zud Schammel, Dick Crayne, Ozzie Simmons, Ted Osmaloski, the Fisher brothers, and so many others. Then followed the Ironmen under Coach Eddie Anderson with the immortal Nile Kinnick. A similar team will play the Washington Huskies today.
Like the Iowa Ironmen, we Americans are known for dreaming with our eyes wide open. We live our dreams and make them come true. Our ideas and energies combine in a dynamic force. The kind of force that brought the Hawkeyes to Pasadena enables America to overcome great odds. We call it the American spirit.
In 1982 this country faces serious challenges. We’re gripped by a recession brought on by decades of government mismanagement. But we’re making a new beginning as a nation. The road to recovery is never easy. But America is no stranger to challenges. We need only live up to our convictions to set things right. We need only believe in ourselves, in our country, and in tomorrow.
Happy New Year.