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Essay: Reagan still resilient after 90 years


BEL AIR, California (CNN) -- Ronald Reagan is back home now, in Bel Air, California, continuing his recovery from a broken hip.

Doctors have called his recovery "remarkable", and Reagan even went home from the hospital a little earlier than those doctors' first predictions.

But maybe nobody should be surprised, because Ronald Reagan has always been one resilient man.

Everybody knows about the assassination attempt against him during his first year in office, but few at the time knew how very serious his wounds were. But he bounced back.

He always has.


Back in 1939, while the young actor was filming "Secret Service On The Air", someone fired a gun loaded with blanks too close to his head, costing him most of the hearing in his right ear.

His eyesight wasn't much good, either. After the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor, Reagan, already a member of the U.S. Army Reserve Corps, reported for active duty but was because of bad eyes, he was ultimately classified for limited service, meaning he could not serve overseas.

While president, Reagan weathered cancer surgery in 1985 when doctors removed part of his colon. Later he had a bout with skin cancer. And the year his presidency ended, Reagan fell off a horse while vacationing in Mexico, and suffered a concussion. His wife Nancy later would suggest that the fall might have hastened the onset of her husband's Alzheimer's disease, which he revealed to the nation in a moving letter released in 1994.

Now, the oldest man ever elected president of the United States is once again in recovery mode and hanging in there. On February 6, he turned 90 years old.

Reagan could go home Monday
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Reagan's response to therapy called 'remarkable'
January 18, 2001
Reagan's doctors discuss his release
January 17, 2001
Reagan recovering from hip surgery
January 14, 2001
Reagan faces 'uphill struggle'
January 13, 2001
Former President Bush doing well after hip replacement surgery
December 5, 2000
Ronald Reagan's golf balls? Step right up!
August 1, 2000
Reagan's Alzheimer's disease 'never gets any better'
July 16, 2000
Lance Morrow: The mystery of Ronald Reagan lives on
April 19, 2000

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  •  Hip Fracture

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