By Jason Nevel
The State Journal-Register
Not only did visitors to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on Sunday get to learn about Illinois’ most famous Republican, they may have seen the son of another famous president born in Illinois.
Michael Reagan, a son of the late President Ronald Reagan, toured the museum with a group of high school and college students from around the world. Michael Reagan is best known as a former syndicated conservative radio talk-show host, as well as an author, speaker and political consultant. His mother is Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman.
Fourteen students from Poland, the Czech Republic, Cleveland, Georgia and the Los Angeles area accompanied Reagan on the trip. He said the tour lets students study the history of freedom and liberty around the world while visiting significant historical sites. Other stops on the trip include Washington, D.C.; Eureka College in Eureka, Ill., where Ronald Reagan went to school; Wrigley Field in Chicago; and Ronald Reagan’s famous Santa Barbara, Calif., ranch.
Last year, students traveled to Eastern Europe, where some of the countries used to be under communist control.
“What we do is bring people from Eastern Bloc countries to learn about America and how we became free,” Michael Reagan said. “It’s really exciting for them because they’re young and their parents were living under communism.”
The tour, which is sponsored by The Reagan Legacy Foundation, celebrates Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.
According to its website, the organization seeks to advance the causes that Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his 1981-89 presidency.
Even though they were not born yet, several of the students on the trip named Ronald Reagan as one of their favorite presidents.
John Justus, 17, of Georgia said he wrote an essay about the principles Reagan and the Founding Fathers stood for in order to be accepted to take part in the tour. He said learning more about the 40th president and other historical sites has been an extraordinary opportunity.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be on this trip,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful.”
Marcin Wilczynski, 21, of Poland said he’s not as conservative as some of the other students on the tour but has enjoyed the interaction with them.
He said one of his professors at the college he’s attending in Poland recommended him for the trip.
“Talking with people has helped me understand more about Ronald Reagan’s presidency,” he said.
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