updated 6/11/2004 8:58:44 AM ET 2004-06-11T12:58:44

On Saturday afternoon, the airwaves were filled with news of Reagan’s death. Since then, they’ve been filled with memories of his life. Newsrooms full of journalists who never understood Reagan are now groping to explain him.

Some have recalled his background as an actor… others have mentioned his sharp wit. Those are pieces of Reagan the man, but to me, Reagan’s true legacy is about one man who changed the world.

I hate to admit this, but I’m old enough to remember the days in grade school when we had special drills, just in case of a nuclear apocalypse.

It was a different world back then, one that could be destroyed times over if our combined nuclear arsenals had been unleashed.

Yet, even against such a dangerous threat, President Reagan made it no secret that he believed communism would be defeated.  Reagan parsed no words: Communism was evil, America was good. And unlike many leaders, Reagan viewed the world in black and white.

But his world view was far from simplistic. The Great Communicator backed up the might of his rhetoric with an unyielding philosophy of strength through peace. Skeptics of Reagan’s legacy may claim the USSR was already crumbling when Reagan came into office, or that Reagan’s military spending simply forced the Soviets into fiscal ruin first. But it was the forces of his leadership and the strength of his will that changed not just the face of America, but the face of the world.

And though this week is dedicated to honoring and burying a great American, the greatest monument to Reagan is being built by the leaders of today whom he inspired.

'Scarborough Country' airs weeknights, 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.


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