Ronald Reagan and I
Celebrities, celebrities. Have I met any?
Well, let's see... In 1989, I was outside Idi Amin's house in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But I didn't
knock on the door. I wouldn't have much to say to Mr Amin anyway.
As a computer journalist, I've been to press
conferences with Bill Gates and other "famous" computer people. But somehow, computers doesn't feel
like the real world to me. So far, Ronald Reagan is my most striking memory.
1980, I was an exchange student at the University of South Carolina, USA. It was at the Coastal
College, near the Atlantic coast. Great place for an exchange student. One day, maybe in September,
some friends asked my to join them to Columbia, to hear the Republican presidential candidate speak.
"Ronald who?" I answered. But I thought a day trip to the state capital can't be a bad idea in
the Land of Milk and Honey and Cheap Gasoline.
Once we got there, there was already a large
crowd waiting. A music band on the podium was playing to raise the spirits.
My friends wanted photos of the president-to-be, so I took the camera and went ahead. I found and
climbed a statue about 50 metres from the podium. I saw some security people on the ground and even
snipers with rifles on the rooftop behind the podium. So I tried to avoid sudden movements.
Eventually Ronald Reagan entered and made a
short and elegant speech about political stuff I didn't understand anyway. But it sounded good and
Years later, I appreciated Reagan's hard line
in the negotiations with Soviet leaders, ending the cold war.
But that's a different story. However, I object to the US embargo against Cuba, but that too is a
Per Åkesson, November 1996