Sen. Rubio: Thank you very much for this opportunity. Gerald let me thank you for that introduction, you talking about my communications skills, or so called communications skills, I appreciate you not setting the bar too high. Thanks so much.
Mrs. Reagan, thank you for this opportunity. And in a moment I’ll talk a little about what this opportunity means to me in general, but let me just say it is one of the highest privileges and honors I’ve ever had to be able to come here and speak in this place.
And earlier today I was able to walk through here, and not just to see the exhibits, but to meet the people, some from all over the world, that were touched by the extraordinary life of an extraordinary man. The contributions that he made to this country were tremendous, but the contributions he made to the world were even greater. And in just an hour and a half of walking through here and meeting people who had been touched by those contributions, it reminded me what a privilege it is that I would get to stand here today and speak to all of you from a place like this and I am honored beyond any words that I could use to describe it and I thank you for this invitation. Thank you.
In fact I have a distinct honor because, not many people can say, that the only two people I have ever walked down the aisle with are here today. One is my wife Jeanette and the other is Mrs. Reagan that we just walked down here, so.
I tell people all the time that I was born and raised in Ronald Reagan’s America. I was raised in Ronald Reagan’s America. He was elected when I was in fourth grade and he left - he left office when I was in high school. Those are very important years, fourth grade through high school they were the years that formed so much of what today what I believe and know to be true about the world and about our nation.
Ronald Reagan’s era can be defined, number one in most people’s mind, by the Cold War and by the end of it. And by the strong principles he stood for. Ronald Reagan didn’t just believe that the Soviet Union and communism could fail, he believed it was inevitably destined to fail. And that it was our obligation to accelerate that process. That all we had to do was be America and that that would happen.
And that defined his Presidency. And that defined Ronald Reagan’s America in the time that I lived. The time that I grew up during that era.
There was something else though that defined the Reagan Presidency and that was defining the proper role of government. He did that better than any American has done ever before. And I stand before you, it has always been important for Americans and America to do that, but I stand here before you today all of us gathered here today at a time when defining the proper role of government is as important as it has ever been.