On Thursday, June 9, YAF hosted its annual forum to commemorate the passing of President Ronald Reagan. The room was PACKED to capacity with hundreds of young conservatives eager to hear from the panel, some of whom wanted to participate so badly they even sat on the floor after all the seats were taken.
The event featured Congressman Marsha Blackburn, former director of the Office of Management and Budget, James Miller, and Chairman of the Reagan Ranch Board of Governors, Frank Donatelli. Throughout her portion of the forum, Congressman Blackburn encouraged the students that were in attendance to take up the fight for freedom.
She agreed with President Reagan’s famous belief that, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” telling students, “You are all foot soldiers in the fight for freedom.”
Her speech was inspiring, assuring every student that they too were an integral part of the battle. Congressman Blackburn reminded students of their duty to fight for their freedoms by explaining, “Now some people put on the uniform and they go to the battlefield and they fight to preserve that freedom, and to preserve freedom’s ability to grow. And then there are others of us, you and I included, who in the public square are at the kitchen table as we educate the next generation. We fight to preserve freedom.”
Congressman Blackburn left students with this powerful thought that should embolden every conservative college student:
“It is our job to protect freedom, because if we don’t, if a generation gives up on the fight, because it’s too hard, because it’s inconvenient, because your busy, then freedom will cease to be. And you know what is such an important thing to realize? The world looks at us. We are the benchmark on freedom. It is us. Totally, completely, entirely us.”
Frank Donatelli and James Miller, both of whom served as aides to President Reagan during his administration, shared important stories about their experiences with him, shedding on light on his character and sense of humor.
Students were also given an opportunity to ask the panel questions, eliciting great answers on a wide variety of topics.
Congressman Blackburn had the perfect advice for a University of Missouri student who asked about how to fight for free speech on his campus, telling conservatives to be bold, unafraid, and “Charge on!”
YAF’s 2016 Reagan Forum on Capitol Hill was a major success thanks to the hundreds of enthusiastic young conservatives who joined us for the panel.