Memorial honors Reagan's vision, leadership

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, the director of the Missle Defense Agency, Washington, D.C., speaks at the Ronald Reagan Missle Defense Site on March 27 here. The site is dedicated to former President Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, the director of the Missle Defense Agency, Washington, D.C., speaks at the Ronald Reagan Missle Defense Site on March 27 here. The site is dedicated to former President Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Mr. Riki Ellison, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, and Arizona congressman Rep. Trent Franks stand for the playing of the Air Force song during the Ronald Reagan Memorial dedication March 27 here. The site was dedicated to former President Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Mr. Riki Ellison, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III, and Arizona congressman Rep. Trent Franks stand for the playing of the Air Force song during the Ronald Reagan Memorial dedication March 27 here. The site was dedicated to former President Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  Vandenberg's Base Honor Guard stand at parade rest along the walkway for the Ronald Reagan Memorial dedication while Arizona congressman Rep. Trent Franks speaks on March 27 here. The Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Site is dedicated to former President Ronald Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg's Base Honor Guard stand at parade rest along the walkway for the Ronald Reagan Memorial dedication while Arizona congressman Rep. Trent Franks speaks on March 27 here. The Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Site is dedicated to former President Ronald Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense.(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --  The Air Force Band plays during the Ronald Reagan Memorial dedication ceremony March 27 here. The site is dedicated to former President Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Air Force Band plays during the Ronald Reagan Memorial dedication ceremony March 27 here. The site is dedicated to former President Reagan as a show of gratitude on the 25th Anniversary of his address to the nation on missile defense. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing and Missile Defense Agency held a dedication ceremony for the Ronald Reagan Memorial on March 27 here. 

The dedication ceremony coincided with the 25th anniversary of President Reagan's strategic defense initiative speech. 

Guest speakers at the event included Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency; Arizona congressman Rep. Trent Franks; and Riki Ellison, president of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance. 

General Obering said it is the vision and wisdom of President Reagan that protects the United States today. As the father of the modern-day ballistic missile defense program, the former president's foresight has given the U.S. a defensive capability against a wide range of attacks. 

"Today it is appropriate that we dedicate this to President Ronald Reagan, a man whose visionary leadership and great faith in the men and women involved in this work made it all possible," General Obering said. "Without question, President Ronald Reagan had the single greatest impact on this country's ballistic missile defense program." 

Rep. Franks said he felt privileged to be a part of a memorial to the "Great Communicator." 

"I just can't express to you what an honor it is for me to stand here in this place and to remember that Ronald Reagan gave us a vision and we have the privilege now of seeing that vision coming true," he said. "We all owe the Gipper a salute, because he believed that someday we would have the courage and the will to try to build a system that would protect our citizens rather than avenge their death." 

Mr. Ellison, whose MDAA donated the bust of President Reagan, said the memorial represented the president's hope for the human spirit. 

"He believed that the human spirit must be capable of rising above dealing with other nations and human beings by threatening their existence," he said. "Yes, the human spirit is capable of rising above and today, 25 years later, we celebrate that rise and the reality of the vision of Ronald Reagan." 

Located at the Del Punta Observation Site on North Vandenberg, the newly-renovated site is made up of a 150-foot long walkway that ends in a 50-foot diameter circle. A 2-foot-6-inch bust of President Reagan sits on an 11-foot high pedestal that is set with two plaques - one shows the presidential seal and the other is engraved with a quote from the former president's strategic defense initiative speech. 

The observation site is open to all military, dependents and contractors with base access.

(For video coverage of this event, click here.)