|True stories by Murl Harpham|
A RONALD REAGAN TRIBUTE
In 1979 I attended the National FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In June one of roommates who was from the NYPD took us to New York to spend the weekend.
One of the highlights of the trip was for the fourteen of us spend half a day on a Harbor Patrol Boat which took us to Ellis Island and to the Statute of Liberty. They dropped us off for a couple of hours at the Statute and we had the run of the island and Statute. In fact, we all went into the Statute and climbed the spiral stairs to the crown. The arm was closed at that time for repairs. We met only one person inside the Statute and that was about a 14-year old boy was coming down the stairs.
It was June and schools were out and it was vacation time and I never questioned why more people were not there on such a nice day.
Seven years later another couple, my daughter and my wife and I went to New York to the 1986 World Series. (Mets vs. Boston) I had little trouble convincing they to go to Battery Park and get on a ferry and go to the Statute of Liberty.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The lines were several blocks long six abreast with a ferry loading, a full ferry on its way and a third ferry on its way back. It was October, schools were in session and it was a week day and a chill in the air.
After a wait of an hour we made it on the ferry and then to the island. The place was packed with people and my wife and daughter got in line to go into the Statute. After about 40 minutes they gave that up because they hadn’t moved very close.
I asked a couple of groundskeeper what was going on. I told them I had been there in June of 1979 and there was hardly anyone here. They said,
“It’s Ronald Reagan man, he put patriotism back in the country.”
It all made sense.