The biggest building in the entire federal government is the Pentagon. The second biggest sits across the Potomac River, in downtown Washington, D.C.

Its called the Ronald Reagan Building.

Isnt that ironic? Reagan, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 93, was perhaps the 20th centurys greatest advocate of small government. One of his most famous quips captures his view perfectly: Government is not the solution, its the problem.

In 1988, he spoke to the Future Farmers of America: There seems to be an increasing awareness of something we Americans have known for some time: That the ten most dangerous words in the English language are, Hi, Im from the Government, and Im here to help.

So why did Congress choose to name such a huge building–an emblem of big government–after the 40th president? Well, there are many reasons. The dedication took place in 1996, several years after Reagan acknowledged his Alzheimers disease. People were understandably eager to honor his legacy.

But theres something else we should remember about the Ronald Reagan Building, which is its full name: Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Now thats appropriate. Just as Reagan was a firm believer in the virtues of small government, he was a committed supporter of free trade.

The Cold War was also in full swing. Reagan was convinced that the struggle to defend the United States against international Communism was the most important battle of his time. He knew that centralized planning would succeed only at crushing the human spirit and leading nations toward failure. What are the four things wrong with Soviet agriculture? he once asked. Spring, summer, winter, and fall.

Were now in an era of globalization–an era made fully possible only by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which happened just after Reagans retirement. Yet so much of the global prosperity that we enjoy today has its roots in the 1980s, the decade of Reagan.

Consider one of the greatest speeches Reagan ever gave–the one he delivered in 1987, at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin–when he uttered one of his most memorable lines: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

The wall he was talking about, of course, was the Berlin Wall, which was one of the most powerful symbols of the Cold War. In a literal sense, the wall separated the free people of West Berlin from their oppressed countrymen. In a figurative one, it separated the success of freedom from the failure of tyranny.

We see a free world that has achieved a level of prosperity and well-being unprecedented in all human history, said Reagan, speaking of the Western democracies. In the Communist world, we see failure, technological backwardness, declining standards of health; even want of the most basic kind–too little food. Even today, the Soviet Union still cannot feed itself.

One element of freedoms success, in Reagans mind, was the freedom to trade. Among the walls Reagan wanted to tear down were the ones preventing people of different nations from exchanging goods and services. In his speech at the Brandenburg Gate, he specifically credited free trade with helping boost the standard of living for West Berliners and West Germans. Just as truth can flourish only when the journalist is given freedom of speech, he said, so prosperity can come about only when the farmer and businessman enjoy economic freedom.

Reagans commitment to free trade went far beyond rhetoric. When he was running for president in 1979, he spoke of a North American accord that would allow the free movement of people and merchandise. Most people dismissed that idea as a campaign gimmick, writes biographer Lou Cannon. In 1988, he signed the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, which in turn led to a framework agreement with Mexico. The Bush and Clinton administrations then were able to negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Along with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan was perhaps the most important and influential president of the 20th century. He will be remembered for many things, from fighting the Cold War to criticizing the growth of government. Ill always remember him–and appreciate him–for his commitment to Americas farmers. I will never forget one of my meetings with him in the Oval Office as we discussed the terrible drought in the Midwest and then his invitation to fly with him on Air Force One to view the drought in Illinois.

He was especially committed to helping us sell our products, worldwide. As I look at the political scene today and see protectionists at home trying to defeat trade deals with Australia and Central America and protectionists abroad trying to block commerce with Europe and among the nations of the WTO, Im inspired to tell the friends of freedom one thing: Lets win one for the Gipper.