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Prominent Utahns celebrate birth of Ronald Reagan

By Keith McCord | Posted - Feb. 5, 2011 at 9:58 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Ronald Reagan was born 100 years ago Sunday, and that anniversary is being marked all over the country in a number of ways, including here in Utah.

Celebrations will take place throughout the week and one popular place will certainly be the newly-renovated Ronald Reagan Library in California. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan will cut the ribbon for the re-opening.

The best compliment I can pay him is what an ordinary, nice human being he was.

–Jake Garn

During his political career, Ronald Reagan visited Utah often -- as a candidate and even during his presidency as well -- nine times in all, more than any other national politician.

This past week, a number of Utahns who knew or worked with Reagan gathered at the KSL Broadcast House to reminisce about the nation's 40th president.

"My first recollection of him was when he came to Utah and spoke at a Republican Convention," said former Utah Gov. Norm Bangerter. "The thing I remember, they tried to cut him off and he wouldn't be cut off."

"He was a very principled guy. A lot of people don't realize how principled he was because he always had a smile on his face, and always a joke," said former U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen. "He calmed everybody down and everybody seemed to love him."

Former U.S. Sen. Jake Garn said, "The best compliment I can pay him is what an ordinary, nice human being he was."

Everyone had great stories to tell, and you can read about all of them in depth in Sunday morning's edition of the Deseret News.



Keith McCord


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