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August 2, 1928

August 2, 2016

It had been five years to the day since President Harding passed away.  It had been exactly one year since President Coolidge had announced: “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.”  These events were either distant memories or unknown happenings to young James Raider.

Raider was swimming in the local river.  He probably didn’t have a care in the world.  He had entered the water from a public area in the town park.  What could go wrong?

On August 2, 1928 young James Raider had to be rescued by the lifeguard at Lowell Park.  The next day a front page article in the local paper read: “James Raider Pulled from the Jaws of Death.”  The article appeared above the fold and mentioned that Raider was the 25th person saved by this particular lifeguard.  From that day forward the newspaper would keep a tally of rescues by this hero.  By the end of summer 1933 the number of lives saved would total 77.

When asked about the rescues years later, the hero wondered whether some of his victims hadn’t simply been young ladies who just wanted to meet the lifeguard.  He said this not to enhance his reputation with women but to downplay his role as a hero.  Although he was both handsome and heroic, he didn’t feel right calling attention to himself.  That’s just how Ronald Reagan was.

 

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