Skip to comments.Michael Reagan Speaks Lovingly of Father
Posted on 06/10/2004 3:02:54 PM PDT by ZGuy
When Ronald Reagan could no longer recognize his elder son, hugs took the place of familiar words, Michael Reagan said Thursday, speaking emotionally of their relationship during his father's descent into Alzheimer's.
"As the years went by and he could no longer recognize me, I began a process of hugging him whenever I would see him. I would hug him hello and hug him goodbye," Michael Reagan said during a tribute to his father at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex.
One time, he said, he forgot to hug his father goodbye. The former president followed him out the front door and stood with his arms open.
"I ran back and gave him a hug," Reagan said, his voice cracking with emotion.
He said the greatest gift his father had given him was faith.
"I know where he is. I know he's in heaven," said Reagan, 57. "Someday I want to be there with him, and I know I will be. My father and I, and all of us, will be dancing before the great Father in heaven, Alzheimer's-free."
More than 200 people who gathered for the event, mostly former Reagan administration workers, gave Michael Reagan a standing ovation after his speech.
Reagan political buttons inside large frames sat on easels. In the middle of the stage, behind the lectern, was a picture of Reagan wearing a cowboy hat and smiling broadly.
Nancy Reagan spent the day across the street at the Blair House presidential guest house. A long line of dignitaries stopped by to pay their respects. Her daughter, Patti Davis, and son, Ron Reagan, also were there.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were among the visitors. Thatcher signed a condolence book, writing "To Ronnie "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, one of four eulogists at Reagan's funeral service Friday, talked with Mrs. Reagan for more than a half-hour. He said she "looked good, very dignified."
"Given the very painful circumstances, she's in remarkably good shape," he said.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, speaking through a translator, said he "told her I felt very privileged to have an opportunity to work with one of the greatest American presidents."
He said he reminisced with Mrs. Reagan about a visit many years ago to the Reagan presidential library in California and a tour of the grounds conducted by the former president. At one point, Reagan stopped and pointed.
"He told me that would be the spot he would be buried and right next to him would be buried Mrs. Reagan," Nakasone recalled. He asked Mrs. Reagan if that still was the plan and she said it was.
In a telephone interview, Reagan family spokeswoman Joanne Drake said Mrs. Reagan had been moved by the outpouring of love and respect for her husband. Drake said that during Wednesday's flight to bring the former president's body from California to Washington, Mrs. Reagan spent some time alone with the casket, then was joined by the three surviving Reagan children. Daughter Maureen, from Reagan's first marriage, died from cancer in 2001.
Drake said Mrs. Reagan also recounted the former president's final moments before death last Saturday.
"She told me that as he neared death and it became evident it was close, he opened his eyes and he gazed at her. His eyes were as blue as ever and he closed them and died. She told me it was the greatest gift ever," Drake said.
I am SO happy she was able to do that.
I think that Michael Reagan is the greatest but why was he shunned at the state funeral? Why was he relegated to the back row while Ron Jr and Patty were up front with their Mom? What's up with that?
FNC just said that when Nancy approached the coffin at some point yesterday, her two kids were with her and Michael was not. I do certainly hope they did not deliberately exclude Michael; he loved his father so much.
I've wondered the same thing. It is natural for Nancy to be surrounded by her own children but I really hope they do include him as close family.
I was about to post the same thing. Why is Michael, who was so close to his father, relegated to the back row? My first guess, is that maybe he and Nancy don't get along, and Patti and the Worm are with her b/c they her natural born kids.
I have never, never, heard Ron Jr. say one good thing about his father, what he stood for, or what he accomplished.
Is there a known friction b/w Michael and Patti and Ron?
I will say that it kind of bothers me for Michael, b/c no one embraces his father, or his ideals, or his faith, any more than Michael does. And Michael seems to be such a kind, sincere and gentle person.
I loved Michael's interview that was aired on H&C the other night. Seems he turned out really great and has a great faith himself. You know I never remember hearing that Reagan was religious when in the White House. I was so surprised to find out of his strong faith.
I was sure disappointed to hear of Ron Jr.'s comments recently about Bush. I could not understand it but I wonder if it is purely jealousy. Bush is the son of a president that has himself become president. Ron Jr. has probably had a hard go trying to live up to his father's image.
It has been bothering me as well. I thought may be I was imagining things. When they all got out of the car, Nancy, Ron, his wife, and Patty blocked Michael from standing next to them; he had to proceed to the end and stand separate from them with his family. The apparent childishness was annoying me.
Does anyone know where I could find a copy of the statement Michael released after President Reagan's death? It was so beautiful. I apologize if it was already posted somehwere on FR. I've been swamped with Vacation Bible School and haven't had much free time lately.
I noticed that too! It left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. He has always had great respect, admiration and loving words for his father. Also, as Fox News was closing out the segment on the State Funeral last night with the camera scanning the area, Michael was at the casket by himself. I would hope that the President's passing would bring them together if there is or has been a rift.
She also claimed that Nancy never got along with the adopted Michael and resented his presence.
I cannot say if any of this is true but what I do know is that Reagan's "bio" son is a jerk. At this point, I can see Nancy submitting to Ronny Jr's (or Patty's or both or all three) demands (to keep Michael in the back) for the sake of family peace.
I don't know if Nancy has excluded Michael, but he has always had good things to say about her.
There was only so much room 'up front', and Michael had his wife and children there, too. He's tall, he could see what was going on up front, and I'm sure if Nancy had faltered, Ron and Patti wanted to be at her right hand to give her strength. Merv Griffin is one of their oldest and dearest friends. He's an honorary pallbearer...and all through this, he stood to one side or at the back. They were talking...the press...about how the cathedral would only hold 4000 people, and congress and heads of state too up 3000 seats, so Nancy and family could only invite 1000 people. And I'm sure many, many more wanted to come and can't be accomodated.
I have to remind myself what my mother says when I'm bickering with my siblings "I have no control over the situation." But I'll be darned if I'd let my kids act exclusive with each other in my presence whether they're two or sixty-two. I'm disappointed this situation wasn't confronted by Nancy. I think Ron Sr. was for her more than a husband, almost a father. She's still getting her primary needs left, and not able to parent effectively. Go ahead and flame me.
I remember the official story was that he didn't want to be a disruption. Considering there were five known assassination plots against the man in forty years, I think he probably had a point.
The Reagan's are still a dysfunctional family. I feel sorry for Mike. Maybe Ron's death will heal this family. That's my prayer.
From what I've seen of life, you have hit the nail on the head: a parent how lets her kids get way with stuff and a wife who was too in awe of her husband because because...
Of the kids, Michael and his late sister Maureen were the most emotionally healthy of the 4.
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