On this day, March 30, in the year 1981, I was in Mrs. Noecker’s third-grade classroom at Robeson Elementary School. I don’t remember how the day began. Most likely, it was a typical Monday morning. I can’t even tell you what we had for lunch that day. Maybe the famous Robeson Elementary peanut butter balls were on the menu. I can tell you what happened in the early afternoon of that day; it will stay in my memory until the day I die. Over the loudspeaker in our classroom came the announcement from our principle that President Ronald Reagan was just shot in an assassination attempt.
I’ll never forget the look on Mrs. Noecker’s face when she heard the news. All the teachers in the school could remember back to the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and this was a reminder of that event. The pain, the fear, the feelings of loss rushed back to each teacher. This was the first national crisis I ever experienced, and it seemed like a big one.
During the national crisis, we find ourselves in right now; the feelings are similar yet very different. We feel powerless right now. Still, we know that this virus will not last forever. When Reagan was shot, and chaos took over—remember how the Secretary of State Al Haig thought he was next in line for the office of president? Our thoughts rushed toward the Soviet Union. What steps would they take toward leveraging the situation for their advantage?
In the end, Reagan survived a near-fatal gunshot. The bullet missed his heart by millimeters. In his White House diary, after he finally came home from the hospital, Reagan penned these words, “Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can.”
How I hope that is our determination as God carries us through this pandemic. Like Reagan, I hope that we can see God touching our lives, preparing us for the greater work He has planned for us. Let’s not go back to life as usual after all these struggles subside. Instead, even right now, let’s re-purpose our lives for God’s full use. To Him, be the glory!
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric grew up in the little town of Gibraltar, PA with his grandparents. He met his wife Cheryl while working at Good’s Greenhouse in Bowmansville, PA. He has three adult children and values watching them grow into the people God wants them to be.