Visiting the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA was a life-changing experience for my family. It was the most beautiful and unique trip we have done recently. My son has wanted to visit Reagan Library for a while, and I am happy we traveled there on a warm sunny day. The Presidential Library is located on a majestic hill of the surrounding mountains. When we were driving up the hill, all 45 presidents greeted us from the sidewalk with their years of service noted. It was entertaining to count each president and so educational to discuss their accomplishments for the country.
Approaching closer to the library, we were surrounded by government security and local police, so instantly we knew an important event was happening today. There is nothing as great as the atmosphere of the Presidential Library. You automatically have a sense of something patriotic and powerful. We were fortunate to have this history-making presidency that can provide visitors with historical materials, including an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall and the Library’s replicas of the White House’s Rose Garden and South Lawn.
Walking around, we instantly fell into Reagan’s film career, marriage to Nancy Davis Reagan, and political career. The museum started with his high school and college life, and then into his years as an actor and Hollywood star. Then, Gordon learned about the beginning of his political career and when he was Governor of California. Then we all learned about the election in 1980, the assassination attempt in 1981, and the end of the Cold War, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and his meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev. Gordon observed so much fascinating information, and I could see he was thrilled to learn more. He was obsessed with the news footage of Reagan’s shootings. He watched it over and over, trying to figure out who shot Reagan.
One of my favorite parts of the Reagan Library was the fashion line and jewels from the inauguration and the presentation of the White House Christmas tree during seven different holiday seasons. My eye lay on a green wool coat made by James Galanos. Also, a red velvet embroidered evening gown with organza circle skirt by James Galanos had an incredible impression on me. Nancy Reagan was wearing it for the State dinner honoring UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1981.
It was impossible to pass a red gown with beaded belt. Nancy Reagan wore this elegant red chiffon gown by Valentino for a meeting with the then-Crown Prince and Princess of Japan in 1987.
Next, my attention fell on some luxurious turquoise and silver squash blossom jewelry. It was a gift from Mr. Rocky Carvalho of Klamath Falls, Oregon, and created by Navajo artist Cecil Ashley. Also, the amber jewelry is another beautiful piece that attracted my attention. This necklace and bracelet of pressed amber was a gift to Nancy Reagan from Mikhail Gorbachev’s wife, Raisa. It was given during the Geneva Summit of 1985, the first meeting between President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev.
A woven wicker purse with gold-plated sterling silver trim, decorated with the royal Thai crest, fascinated my heart. Nancy Reagan received this gift from Sirikit, Queen of Thailand. I could not avert my eyes from another beauty. The mother-of-pearl evening bag that was a gift of Ferdinand Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines, and his wife, Imelda Marcos.
After the Presidential exhibits, we really loved their Christmas tree room, showing tree decorations inspired by every decade of American history. We had a blast walking through and enjoying the historical moments.
Entering the Air Force One Pavilion will remain an unforgettable memory that my son will always keep in his heart profoundly. This historical plane was used by presidents from Nixon to Clinton, but Reagan flew in it the most. The private jet is very cool inside and outside. It is hard to believe that we were walking through this jet where Reagan was working, solving political issues, and making important decisions. There are so many interesting details we noticed while being inside of the private jet. Gordon really liked the old version of a camera that was set on the table. The office vintage phone became of unique historical value and memory from the 20th century. Everything was well saved and presented to people where we could really observe Reagan’s political life and just his human-being life. For example, Reagan loved chocolate cake, and it was presented to visitors.
To bring this huge White House jet of Air Force One to its current home was not easy at all. The private plane was first flown to an airstrip in San Bernardino where then the wings and tail were dismantled from the plane. Then Air Force One was towed across Los Angeles, all the way to the Reagan Museum in Simi Valley, where it was put back together again inside the half-finished hangar at the Reagan Library. Once reassembled, the hangar was then completed and built around the aircraft.
We had such an eventful day, full of entertaining and educational values. Being parents is not only about providing our kids with food and clothes, it is more than that. It’s being able to educate them and direct them into their future, helping them to become stronger, smarter, more loyal and kind, and also teaching them to accomplish more and never give up. The mission of significance and beliefs is our duty as human beings.