Radio talk show host Michael Reagan regaled a packed Life Choices audience at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn on Central Thursday night with stories about himself — and about his father, the late former President Ronald Reagan.
One tale he told, chronicled in the video above, concerned his father’s morning-after preoccupation in 1981 with the fate of the brown suit he had been wearing when he was shot by the would-be assassin John Hinckley — and the then President’s unusual suggestion as to how the Hinckley family might make amends.
Lamenting that his new brown suit had been cut away from his body and shredded at the hospital, the stricken President said he’d been told the Hinckley family had lucrative oil interests and wondered, “Do you think they’d buy me a new suit?”
The occasion, sponsored by the group’s Ladies’ Auxiliary, was a fundraising dinner for the organization’s Pregnancy Help Medical Clinics. The clinic promotes adoption as an alternative to abortion and provides medical and counseling support toward that end.
Another affecting story told by Michael Reagan concerned the affectionate relationship he developed with the affable but famously remote President relatively late in his adoptive father’s life and how that relationship continued even into the final stages of Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s condition.
That story concluded with an account of how the former President, unable to speak and with his ability to recognize kith and kin long gone, still retained enough memory, as his son recalled, “to know that I was the man who gave him hugs” and, by taking “baby steps” toward the door and miming, insisted on one as Michael Reagan was leaving the Reagan household one day after a visit with step-mother Nancy Reagan.
The thrust of Michael Reagan’s remarks, in support of the host organization’s goal, was to emphasize that he, at least one sister, and both of Ronald Reagan’s wives, Jane Wyman and Nancy Davis, had been adopted children and were thus enabled to achieve productive lives. “We were a family put together by adoption,” as he put it.