WASHINGTON, June 11, 2004 -- Even in the post-Sept. 11 era, in which the possibility of a spontaneous act of terrorism is never far from our thoughts, it is hard for anyone who had not lived through the height of the Cold War to imagine what a strain communism and the specter of mutually assured destruction added to daily life.
Even more than the idea of a breakdown in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union that could lead to a first strike, and thus nuclear annihilation, was the complete lack of hope that the situation would ever be different. I clearly remember the certainty with which I believed I would not live to see the day when communism collapsed or the Soviet Union did not exist, and neither would my children. It was the primary reason I became involved in politics, and thought the work the most important one could do.
Fortunately for the nation and the world, Ronald Reagan had the vision to see what few, if any, others could discern: the total bankruptcy of the communist system, how close it actually was to collapsing, and what was required to push it over the edge. In achieving his goal of relegating communism to "the ash heap of history," Ronald Reagan not only removed the specter of the unthinkable from our lives and our futures, but gave us a gift of inestimable value: the gift of hope.
Full Commentary by Terri Lukach
Special to American Forces Press Service