April 9, 2009
Yesterday was my first visit to a Presidential Library, and we visited the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California yesterday. We wanted to see the special Abraham Lincoln exhibit, before it closes end of the month. We were not able to see but a fraction of what the museum offered, and certainly look forward to returning soon. It was most enjoyable and a real piece of history, as I am sure each and every Presidential Library does just that. Located on top of a hill in Simi Valley, the views 360 degrees around are breath taking, it was really a picture perfect view of part of California. Mrs Reagan is a regular part of visiting the library several times a month, as she herself is 94 years old. We never even got to one section of the library that is devoted to the National Archives, which I am sure John would love spending some time in, searching and reading. So many things we did not have the time for to see including President Reagan's final resting place, a fighter jet on display in the grounds, and a part of the Berlin wall we didn't realize we walked right past departing for the day. The Lincoln exhibit was a moving experience, with nearly total silence from everyone as if they visited hallowed ground fitting such respect. 6 rooms filled with artifacts from Lincoln including one of only 3 existing of his Stove Top hats, china and furniture from his home, civil war artifacts of all kinds. There were documents hand written and signed by Mr. Lincoln, a lock of his actual hair, and the blood stained pillow and bed he died in was something that left you speechless. We were watching a young Asian couple arms around each other, reading word for word, the Emancipation Proclamation, as the actual Pen Mr. Lincoln wrote it with was displayed with it. They seemed in awe of reading the words Mr. Lincoln wrote, as we all should be. So many priceless things from his life, things he touched, wrote, or wore preserved for all of us, and fitting only of a Presidential Library or the Smithsonian to display them in.
Touring Air Force One was amazing, including the building it is in along with a motorcade, the Helicopter, and just the feat of getting that aircraft up the mountain it is perched on was truly an amazing feat. Walking through it was a highlight of the tour for me, I can not imagine today's 747 the President uses, I believe this one also served as far back as President Nixon.
I plan to soon visit the Nixon Library, probably about 50 miles away from us. The Reagan Library is in our next adjoining valley, is only about 15-20 miles from where we live. I highly recommend if you can visit a Presidential Library, it is well worth it.