Crowd to Reagan: 'Four More Years'

By Dave Greber

August 23, 2013 Updated Aug 23, 2013 at 1:16 AM EDT

The announcement of President Barack Obama's tour stop at Binghamton University has been received with mixed reaction, especially on social media.

But 28 years ago -- when things like Facebook and Twitter were decades from even being concepts -- the world watched as President Ronald Reagan brought people, democrat and Republican alike, together on a September afternoon in Endicott.

By the time Reagan took the stage at Ty Cobb Stadium in Endioctt, the crowd was whipped into a frenzy, ready to hear from their president.

"So I stood up and the crowd was waiting and waiting, the crescendo, and I just said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the president of the United States, Ronald Reagan,'" said longtime local broadcaster Bill Flynn.

Flynn remembers there was strong support for Reagan -- who earned the title the Great Communicator -- from both sides of the political aisle.

More than 20,000 people crammed into the bleachers and grounds of Union-Endicott High School's hallowed stadium to witness the nation's 40th president.

Flynn, who took the stage for nearly three hours clad in a tuxedo and bow tie, looks fondly upon the memory, even the small missteps like Reagan's butchering of "Binghamton." That was quickly followed by the naming of other local cities and towns, and he finished on "Endicott," the reaction from which literally shook the ground.

Admittedly, however, a lot's changed in 28 years, especially the sentiment from the community about Friday's presidential visit.

As soon as it was announced, posters took to Facebook and other social media sites with choice words for the POTUS, his policies and ultimately, his plans to visit the Southern Tier.

Flynn and others in attendance in September of 1984 said if there were protests, they never saw them.

"It was a wonderful day," Flynn said. "The whole community responded. No matter what politicial party you were affiliated with, the whole community was there. And if they weren't there at Ty Cobb Stadium, they were watching."

Sen. Tom Libous agreed.

The lifelong Republican and Senate minority leader said Reagan's visit on the eve of his second term was a political apex for the local GOP.

"Ronald Reagan for us Republicans, he was the man, you know," Libous said. "There's Abraham Lincoln and there's Ronald Reagan as far as I'm concerned, as a Republican."

Libous also said, although he disagrees with many of Obama's policies, he's proud the Greater Binghamton community will once again host the sitting Commander in Chief.

As he's been quoted as saying this week: It's still the president of the United States.

"It's good for this community," he said. "To have the president of the United States come? I don't care what party he is. It's good for this community."