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Ronald Reagan Centennial: Roses and Remembrance

4 years ago
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He won't be around to celebrate, but the 100th anniversary of former President Ronald Reagan's birth is going to be a big production.

It starts on New Year's Day with a special Reagan float in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade, preceding the Rose Bowl game between Texas Christian University and the University of Wisconsin. The Gipper's float is 55 feet long, 26 feet high and includes a replica of a statue of Reagan in the U.S. Capitol, according to the Sacramento Bee.

On Jan. 7, the scene shifts to Washington with the opening of a Reagan Centennial Exhibit in the "Public Vaults" section at the National Archives. The exhibition of "rarely displayed" original documents and artifacts is opening in partnership with the California-based Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Former President Ronald ReaganVisitors will see three pages of Reagan's "evil empire" speech on the Soviet Union, complete with hand-written edits, Politico said. Fragments from the first U.S. missile destroyed after the signing of the INF nuclear treaty will also be on display, along with a bronze cast of the Kremlin given to Reagan by Mikhail Gorbachev, and Reagan's "talking points" for a meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in 1985. Lots of other stuff too, including a chunk of a wrecked Soviet missile.

The 40th president was born on Feb. 6, 1911 in Tampico, Ill., and was a New Deal Democrat during his early years as an actor before joining the Republican Party. He was president from 1981 to 1989 and died in 2004. Last year, President Obama signed legislation creating the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, an 11-member panel that is overseeing festivities throughout the year.

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