by Kathy DiFiore
During President Ronald Reagan's second term as President of the United States, I was honored to be asked to the White House to meet him. I had been sheltering unwed mothers and their children in my own home for seven years.
Thankfully the visit was video taped and we were able to obtain a copy from the Ronald Reagan Library. On this, the occasion of President Reagan's 90th Birthday and the celebration of our 20th Anniversary, I want to share with all of you what happened during this blessed visit.
Words fail to describe the feelings of patriotism I experienced, as we were guided through parts of the White House seldom seen by visitors. I remember a set of back stairs that were quite old and narrow. To think Abraham Lincoln often used those very stairs upon which we were traveling!
I was one of 13 guests that day. Gary Bauer introduced us individually. President Reagan shook hands with each of us as our individual photos were taken with him. We were in the Oval Office and a group shot was to be taken. As the President moved to the center of our group, he joked, "Nice to see you and have you here. I think I'm suppose to go over there some place around the middle. When I first got to Hollywood, a very big star named Fredric March and I would get into photographs. He would also go way over there on the left side. I finally, as a beginner, asked, "Why, when everyone is trying to get in the middle, are you always rushing to the left hand side?" He said, "No one reads the entire caption but they always begin reading from left to right.'"
We all laughed and the meeting then turned more serious as President Reagan continued.
"I am so appreciative of what you all are doing. I don't know whether you heard my telephone call this morning. We've been trying to get the Hyde Amendment passed and when we start talking about Constitutional Amendments it recently struck me that actually if we really could get them to interpret things correctly, its already in the Constitution because these children are already human beings are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
"I mentioned in my phone call this morning how 24 prestigious doctors in this country commented, after listening to comments I had made, that I was on very solid ground. These babies are human beings."
We had been asked not to speak but I was moved to say to President Reagan, "You are doing what our Founding Fathers did. You are bringing us back to God's values. That is what you are doing and we thank you for that." Each of the other 12 visitors added their words of thanks.
President Reagan seemed so very humble, almost embarrassed and said, "Can we change the subject for a minute? I just can't resist knowing how you feel about knowing about such things. I received a letter from a widow whose husband was killed in World War II and whose son is now in the military. She had this and sent it to me. You don't mind if I read it to you. This is the translation of a prayer found on a young Russian soldier, killed in action in 1944 whose name was Alexandr Zasipa.
'Hear me, Oh God. Never in my whole lifetime have I spoken to You but just now I feel like sending You my greetings. You know from my childhood on they always told me that you are not. I, like a fool, believed them. I've never contemplated Your creation and yet tonight gazing up out of my shell hole, I marvel at the shimmering stars above me and suddenly knew the cruelty of the lie.
Will You my God reach Your Hand out to me? I wonder. But I will tell You and You will understand. Is it not strange that the Light should come upon me and I see You amid this night of Hell and there is nothing else that I have to say. This though, I am glad that I have learned to know you. At midnight we are scheduled to attack. But You are looking on and I am not afraid.
The signal... well, I guess I must be going. I have been happy with You. This more I would like to say. As you well know the fighting will be cruel and even tonight I may come knocking at your door. Although I have not been a friend to You before, still will you let me enter even now and I do come? Why am I crying, oh my God, my Lord? You see what happens to me. Tonight my eyes were opened. Farewell, my God. I'm going and I am not likely to come back. Strange is it not, but death I fear no longer.' "
Then President Reagan commented, "I wish I had that for Mr. Gorbachev when he was here. I thank you all of you and continue to fight the good fight. God bless all of you and thank you all!"