Friday, June 11, 2004


Eulogies for Ronald Reagan will stand the test of time

Nancy Reagan shared her husband with all of us

In the last few years, America has had to face and endure the unspeakable tragedy of 9/11, the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the loss of hundreds of lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Words sometimes seemed to have failed us when we tried to come to grips and address our fellow Americans in times of mourning. The anniversaries of 9/11 were comemmorated with historical documents such as the Gettysburg Address and the reading of the names of all of the victims of the terror attacks. Observers have lamented that our modern-day politicians did not have the confidence nor the ability to come up with original words to mark the solemn occasions. The week of Ronald Reagan's death has been different. This week of national mourning has been met with profound, moving, and dignified speech by various world leaders about the 40th President, Ronald Reagan. Eulogies by Dick Cheney, Margaret Thatcher, and Brian Mulroney will stand the test of time. Tributes by former President Bush and current President Bush will serve as hallmarks of great moments in presidential history.

Vice President Dick Cheney gave the most personal and touching eulogy at the State funeral ceremony in the U.S. Capitol. Biographical in nature, it captured the soul of the man who loved America. Cheney mentioned Reagan's birthplace and the parents who brought him into this world. The Vice President noted how Reagan improved the morale of the country and was a positive contribution to the political discourse in Washington, D.C.
Ronald Reagan was more than an historic figure. He was a providential man, who came along just when our nation and the world most needed him. And believing as he did that there is a plan at work in each life, he accepted not only the great duties that came to him, but also the great trials that came near the end. When he learned of his illness, his first thoughts were of Nancy.

Margaret Thatcher gave a eulogy at the national funeral ceremony that highlighted the special relationship that the United States shares with the United Kingdom. Thatcher reminded us that President Ronald Reagan was the "Great Liberator" who freed the "slaves of communism." Thatcher's message was that Reagan was an optimistic leader who inspired people around the world to fight for the mission of freedom.
Ronald Reagan's life was rich not only in public achievement, but also in private happiness. Indeed, his public achievements were rooted in his private happiness. The great turning point of his life was his meeting and marriage with Nancy.

Brian Mulroney's tribute centered how Reagan was as a man. He not only knew how to be president but what it meant to be president. Mulroney's emotional words revealed how much he admired and respected Ronald Reagan.
What President Mitterand meant is that there is a vast difference between the job of president and the role of president. Ronald Reagan fulfilled both with elegance and ease, embodying himself that unusual alchemy of history and tradition and achievement and inspirational conduct and national pride that defined the special role the president of the United States of America must assume at all times at home and around the world.

Former President Bush served as Ronald Reagan's Vice President for 8 years. He said, "As his vice president for eight years, I learned more from Ronald Reagan than from anyone I encountered in all my years of public life. I learned kindness; we all did. I also learned courage; the nation did." President George W. Bush spoke for all of us with his moving remarks about Reagan. I couldn't help think of Bush's own missing for freedom in Iraq when he spoke of Reagan's fight for freedom and democracy around the world.
When he saw evil camped across the horizon he called that evil by its name. There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American president had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall that the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan. The ideology he opposed throughout his political life insisted that history was moved by impersonal tides and unalterable fates. Ronald Reagan believed instead in the courage and triumph of free men and we believe it all the more because we saw that courage in him. As he showed what a president should be, he also showed us what a man should be.

The words by Vice President Cheney, Lady Thatcher and Prime Minister Mulroney were colorful reminders of the former president. The eulogies by both Presidents Bush serve as cornerstones for the memorials that will be built in the future for Ronald Reagan.

Vice President Cheney Pays Tribute to Reagan's Optimistic Vision at State Funeral
Thatcher: 'Reagan's life was providential'
Remarks by Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Remarks by Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
Remarks by Former President George H.W. Bush
Remarks by President George W. Bush

Note: There have been many bloggers who have provided moving and touching tributes to President Reagan: This list, far from exhaustive, is a good starting point that all of you should read and peruse. Enjoy. . . Michelle Malkin links a piece on Alzheimer's, Citzen Smash has a link to live video coverage of the funeral, Stephen Greene has also been moved to post Thatcher's comments, Bill Hobbs has a series of moving pictures and words, James Joyner has a set of great photos via the L.A. Times, Misha has powerful words for Gorbachev, Professor Bainbridge highlights the underrated Lech Walesa, Catalano has a great picture that captures Reagan's cheerfulness, Blackfive has the story of 2 young men who carried Reagan's casket, PowerLine notes the latest entry in the Reagan wars, John Cole discusses Reagan's last gift, PoliBlog discusses Reagan's plans for his own funeral, Daily Pundit says Brokaw and Rather will go overboard when Carter passes, Left Coast Conservative talks about how "Reagan's people" are being attacked for their state of dress, and SISU talks about the kindness of Reagan's VP, GHW Bush.



President Reagan saw instinctively that pessimism itself was the disease and that the cure for pessimism is optimism. He set about restoring faith in the prospects of the American dream — a dream of boundless opportunity built on enterprise, individual effort and personal generosity. He infused his own belief in America's economic future in the American people.

Today, the 82-year-old former first lady faces her most exhausting day, a state funeral in a cathedral packed with the nation's and world's dignitaries, many of whom will want to bend and murmur their condolences, followed by a rapid departure back across the country, to a California burial before sunset.



Reagan's favorite setting for prayer? The outdoors. "He didn't need a church to pray in," Clark said. "He referred to his ranch as a cathedral with oak trees for walls." Each time they went on a trail ride, Clark and Reagan would begin by reciting the famous prayer of St. Francis of Assisi that opens, "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace." "Sometimes," Clark said, "the president would look around and say, 'What a wonderful place for prayer.' And sometimes he'd just look up at the sky and say, 'Glory to God.'"

More than 150 suspected illegal aliens have been arrested by the Border Patrol in a sweep of newly created "interior checkpoints," including bus stops, in several Southern California communities, signaling a change in the agency's immigration enforcement strategy.

Only about 5 percent of the voting public is undecided, about one-third of what is typical at this point in the campaign, according to several recent polls. That figure increases to about 15 percent when pollsters include supporters of Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush who say they might change their minds. In addition to those who are torn between the two major-party candidates, and possibly Ralph Nader, there is a sizable number of Americans who are deciding whether to vote at all.


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