Inside the Beltway: Ronald Reagan’s advice on July Fourth


There’s some dismal news this Fourth of July: 85% of U.S. adults now say the country is on the wrong track, and 79% describe the economy as poor, according to a new survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

“The national dissatisfaction is bipartisan,” the poll analysis said. Noting that 92% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats agree the country is headed in the wrong direction,” AP said of its poll of 1,053 U.S. adults, conducted June 23-27.

It is time, perhaps, to revisit the wisdom of former President Ronald Reagan.

Here’s what the 40th president said in a speech delivered from the deck of an aircraft carrier in New York Harbor, on July 4, 1986:

“The things that unite us — America’s past of which we’re so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country — these things far outweigh what little divides us,” Reagan told the nation.

“And so tonight we reaffirm that Jew and gentile, we are one nation under God; that black and white, we are one nation indivisible; that Republican and Democrat, we are all Americans. Tonight, with heart and hand, through whatever trial and travail, we pledge ourselves to each other and to the cause of human freedom, the cause that has given light to this land and hope to the world,” the president said.

“My fellow Americans, we’re known around the world as a confident and a happy people. Tonight there’s much to celebrate and many blessings to be grateful for. So while it’s good to talk about serious things, it’s just as important and just as American to have some fun. Now, let’s have some fun — let the celebration begin,” Reagan advised.


The 45th president also had a thought or two for Americans about Independence Day.

“We gather tonight to herald the most important day in the history of nations, July 4th, 1776. At those words, every American heart should swell with pride, every American family should cheer with delight, and every American patriot should be filled with joy because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world and it will soon be greater than ever before,” former President Donald Trump told the nation in an address from Mount Rushmore on July 3, 2020.

On a different note, here’s what Mr. Trump had to say on July 4, 2014, and yes, this was a tweet: “Happy 4th of July to everyone, including the haters and losers!” Mr. Trump advised then.

His Fourth of July tweets over the years, in fact, prompted The Washington Post to publish an in-depth analysis titled “The Evolution of Donald Trump, as seen in his Fourth of July tweets,” on July 5, 2017.


Yes, there was an initial Independence Day celebration at the White House back in the day. Here’s some insight about the big doings, courtesy the White House Historical Association.

“Although John Adams was the first president to occupy the Executive Mansion in November 1800, it was Thomas Jefferson who first celebrated the Fourth of July at the White House in 1801. Jefferson opened the house and greeted diplomats, civil and military officers, citizens, and Cherokee chiefs in the center of the oval saloon — today’s Blue Room. The U.S. Marine Band played in the entrance hall while on the north grounds a festival took place — complete with horse races, parades, and food and drink. The tradition of an annual reception at the White House continued for much of the 19th century,” notes a historical report from the aforementioned organization.

“The north grounds of the President’s Park — the ‘common’ — came alive at daybreak with the raising of tents and booths, soon followed by crowds of people. A festival took place just for the day. Food and drink of all types were sold. There were horse races and cockfights and parades of the militia and other military companies. A bare headed Jefferson with his ‘grey locks waving in the air’ watched from the steps of the White House. Then he invited everyone in to partake of his hospitality and his thanksgiving for the preservation of independence,” the report said.

It also cited a letter dated July 5, 1801, from a certain “Mrs. Smith” to her sister Mary Ann, describing the cakes, wine and punch served to “every citizen” as the band played “The President’s March” and “fine patriotic airs,” Mrs. Smith noted.

All attendees “appeared to be cheerful, and all were happy,” she said.


“Fireworks are not the only thing exploding this holiday, as prices are soaring higher than any bottle rocket. President Biden’s reckless agenda has made it more difficult for Americans to spend time with family, friends, and celebrate Independence Day. The American dream is slipping away because of that agenda,” declared Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement shared with Inside the Beltway.

She cited a Wall Street Journal poll for evidence. And the numbers: 67% of U.S. adults are “generally pessimistic” about our system of government and how well it works; 66% are pessimistic about the way our leaders are chosen under our political system.

Another 61% express pessimism about the opportunity for most people to achieve the American dream while 60% feel pessimistic about America’s role as “a global leader” in the world.

The Wall Street Journal/NORC poll of 1,001 U.S. adults was conducted May 9-17 and released June 6.


• 84% of U.S. adults will celebrate the Fourth of July on Monday; 16% will not celebrate.

• 59% of the former group will attend barbecue or cookout.

• 37% will watch public fireworks or attend a community celebration.

• 18% will be involved in some “other” activity.

• 13% will be traveling or on vacation; 10% will attend a parade.

• 57% say they own an American flag.

SOURCE: A National Retail Federation survey of 8,210 U.S. adults conducted June 2-8; multiple responses were allowed.

• Happy July Fourth and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.


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