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WASHINGTON - APRIL 28, 1981: (FILE PHOTO) Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan prepares a speech at his desk in the Oval Office for a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, 1981. Reagan turns 92 on February 6, 2003. (Photo by Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images)
With the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth coming up next week, seven Maryland state senators have introduced a bill that would require “the Governor annually to proclaim February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day” and “urge the citizens of the State of Maryland to observe Ronald Reagan Day in a proper manner.”
So what’s the “proper manner” to mark the birth of the sportscaster-turned-actor-turned-TV host-turned-union leader-turned-activist-turned-governor-turned-president? A Reagan tribute will play on the Jumbotron at Cowboys Stadium just before kickoff at Sunday’s Super Bowl, and Reagan’s hometown will introduce a 25-minute musical composition called “Reagan of Illinois.”
There will be a concert at the Reagan library featuring the Beach Boys -- once banned from a National Mall Fourth of July event by Reagan’s interior secretary, to the ire of the president and Nancy Reagan, both fans of the group. The Chicago Cubs, a team Reagan covered for radio in the 1930s, will have a Reagan Day this spring. Indiana is running a statewide student essay contest on the question, “What is Ronald Reagan's most important contribution to American history?”
And California, the state Reagan governed from 1967 through 1975, will mark its first official Ronald Reagan Day this month.
But what about Maryland?
The deeply Democratic state was one of just six that Reagan did not carry in his 1980 presidential run. Reagan won Maryland -- and 48 other states -- in his 1984 landslide, but by one of his smallest margins in the country, receiving just 52.5 percent of the vote.
Will the state choose to honor Reagan's role in history -- or do old political differences remain?