New Reagan-Thatcher Exhibit Reminds of Reagan Visit

The new Reagan-Thatcher exhibit currently on display at the National Churchill Museum reminds many local residents of the former President’s visit to Westminster College on a brisk November 9 in 1990.

One year earlier to the day, the Berlin Wall had fallen. Watching the fall of a barrier similar to the “Iron Curtain” her grandfather had predicted would fall over Eastern Europe with the spread of Communism during his famous speech in Fulton, Edwina Sandys persuaded German officials to donate eight four foot sections of the Wall, which she turned into the sculpture “Breakthrough” and brought to Westminster as a monument to Churchill.

Thus the President who had called on Gorbachev to tear down the Wall and who had played a significant role in ending the Cold War was the perfect person to dedicate the magnificent “Breakthrough” on the Westminster campus.

Reagan told the crowd of 7,000 that day:  “In dedicating this magnificent sculpture, may we dedicate ourselves to hastening the day when all God’s children live in a world without walls.  That would be the greatest empire of all.”

Other speakers at the dedication included German Minister Plenipotentiary Fritjof von Nordenskjoeld, Missouri Governor John Ashcroft, Westminster President Harvey Saunders, and Sandys herself.  President Reagan was given an honorary degree by Charles H. Price, II, former Ambassador to the Court of St. James, and Dr. Richard Mattingly, Dean of the College.

Reagan enjoyed the day immensely, which included a platform luncheon and a tour of the Churchill Memorial and Library, and even gave Sandys a warm kiss on the platform at the conclusion of the dedication ceremony.  One of the special guests who flew in for the ceremony from Los Angeles was actor Bob Cummings, who had appeared with Reagan in the film “Kings Row.”

Near the conclusion of his remarks, Reagan gave a salute to Westminster itself:  “Before you leave this place, do not forget why you came.  You came to Westminster to explore the diversity of ideas and experience what we call civilization.  Here you discover that so long as books are kept open, minds can never be closed.  Here you develop a sense of self, along with the realization that self alone is never enough for a truly satisfying life.   For while we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

Visitors to Westminster can learn more about Reagan by viewing the new exhibit open to the public at the National Churchill Museum through March 9.

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