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By Larry Sowers

I have lived for almost 75 years in the U.S. I read if you are 80 years old you have lived through one-third of our nation’s history from the Revolutionary War. Not quite there but I have lived through the terms of 13 presidents. All of them had achievements small and great, but some I think we’re phenomenal.

I would list as the great achievements: The building of the Interstate highway system under President Eisenhower; and the space program that started under Kennedy and ended with putting a man on the moon. During this time came the invention of the computer and a microchip, which has certainly changed the world.

Also, the passage of the Civil Rights Act under President Johnson. I lived in a world where there was far more bigotry and racism but changed tremendously through the decades. There are people who are racists and bigots but certainly what exists today is nothing compared to decades ago. So much has been achieved in racial relations and healing since that time but it seems like there are always agitators trying to stir the pot — especially today.

There were several good and bad things that came after these great achievements — up through the time of President Obama. But I believe some of the greatest achievements have come under President Trump. I know that some — maybe even many — will disagree with me but certainly I never saw these happening.

Energy independence was achieved under President Trump. I can remember the old days when OPEC was a threat to us and crippled our economy. I never thought it would happen in my lifetime, but new technology, fracking, and gas reserves changed that about.

Another great achievement for which President Trump deserves most of the credit is the fact that Arab nations made peace agreements with Israel. This is one of the most astounding achievements since the founding of the nation of Israel in 1948. The Middle East always has been a hot bed of problems for decades, but it seems there is light at the end of the tunnel with a new alignment of the Middle East. Many Arab nations realize Iran is a far greater threat to them than Israel.

The last great achievement that came under President Trump is the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year through Operation Warpspeed. Amazing! Many people have suffered and even died with COVID-19 but the development of the vaccine signals the end of this particular pandemic. I can remember when HIV came on the scene and the great fear it caused 40 years ago. There still is no vaccine for HIV that exists. Millions have died and the death toll will continue. But in less than one year — the COVID-19 vaccine was developed.

There were other policies that passed under President Trump, but none that eclipsed these three achievements — that in my eyes were truly great.

The amazing thing is President Trump was able to accomplish these things in the face of tremendous opposition. It is really amazing he was able to accomplish much of anything. He has been impeached twice and even though he is out of office now, people still were trying to impeach him! I am not sure there are many men who would ever be able to accomplish what he did under constant opposition.

Anyway, listed above are seven actions and events that I believe have lived and will far live beyond the terms of these particular presidents.

Larry Sowers lives in Lynchburg.

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