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Ronald Reagan's Native Illinois

Reagan was a lifeguard in Dixon, Ill.

By Susan Stephens, IL Public Radio

DIxon, Ill. – Most attention this week will be on tributes to former President Ronald Reagan taking place in Washington and California.

But there will also be a memorial service on Thursday in his hometown of Dixon, Illinois. (about 60 miles southwest of Rockford) There will also be a service Saturday in Eureka, Ill. (near Peoria) where Reagan went to college.

Dixon became the Midwest focal point for mourning over the weekend.

Hundreds left flowers and messages at the feet of the Reagan statue located in a park right next to his boyhood home.

But Reagan's connection to his hometown goes deeper than just historic sites.

Illinois Public Radio's Susan Stephens spoke with two Dixon residents who stayed in touch with Reagan long after he left for Hollywood and the White House.

To hear that report, click here --->

Reagan's last visit there was in 1990, when he visited with old friends and spoke at his alma mater Dixon High School. To hear a cut from that speech,
click here --->

Reagan was asked at a news conference in Springfield about about the importance of winning the state's GOP Primary during his first run for President in 1976.

(He did not win the Illinois GOP primary in '76 but did four years later en route to the White House). To hear a clip from that news conference,
click here --->


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