Skip to comments.Reagan Won the Cold War by Turning Enemies Into Friends-Text of Baroness Margaret Thatcher's Eulogy
Posted on 06/11/2004 10:09:43 AM PDT by kattracks
A text of Baroness Margaret Thatcher's eulogy at the funeral of former President Ronald Ronald:
We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend.
In his lifetime Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America's wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk.
Yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit. For Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause - what Arnold Bennett once called "the great cause of cheering us all up." His politics had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation - and ultimately from the very heart of the evil empire.
Yet his humour often had a purpose beyond humour. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria, one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.
And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery, "Whatever time I've got left now belongs to the Big Fella Upstairs."
And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan's life was providential, when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.
Others prophesied the decline of the West; he inspired America and its allies with renewed faith in their mission of freedom.
Others saw only limits to growth; he transformed a stagnant economy into an engine of opportunity.
Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy cohabitation with the Soviet Union; he won the Cold War - not only without firing a shot, but also by inviting enemies out of their fortress and turning them into friends.
I cannot imagine how any diplomat, or any dramatist, could improve on his words to Mikhail Gorbachev at the Geneva summit: "Let me tell you why it is we distrust you." Those words are candid and tough, and they cannot have been easy to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to a new beginning and a new relationship that would be rooted in trust.
We live today in the world that Ronald Reagan began to reshape with those words. It is a very different world with different challenges and new dangers. All in all, however, it is one of greater freedom and prosperity, one more hopeful than the world he inherited on becoming president.
As Prime Minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly both before and after his presidency. And I have had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president.
Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles - and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly, he acted upon them decisively.
When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled, or disorientated, or overwhelmed. He knew almost instinctively what to do.
When his aides were preparing option papers for his decision, they were able to cut out entire rafts of proposals that they knew "the Old Man" would never wear.
When his allies came under Soviet or domestic pressure, they could look confidently to Washington for firm leadership.
And when his enemies tested American resolve, they soon discovered that his resolve was firm and unyielding.
Yet his ideas, though clear, were never simplistic. He saw the many sides of truth.
Yes, he warned that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive for military power and territorial expansion; but he also sensed it was being eaten away by systemic failures impossible to reform.
Yes, he did not shrink from denouncing Moscow's "evil empire." But he realised that a man of goodwill might nonetheless emerge from within its dark corridors.
So the President resisted Soviet expansion and pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point until the day came when communism began to collapse beneath the combined weight of these pressures and its own failures. And when a man of goodwill did emerge from the ruins, President Reagan stepped forward to shake his hand and to offer sincere cooperation.
Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than that large-hearted magnanimity - and nothing was more American.
Therein lies perhaps the final explanation of his achievements. Ronald Reagan carried the American people with him in his great endeavours because there was perfect sympathy between them. He and they loved America and what it stands for - freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.
As an actor in Hollywood's golden age, he helped to make the American dream live for millions all over the globe. His own life was a fulfilment of that dream. He never succumbed to the embarrassment some people feel about an honest expression of love of country.
He was able to say "God Bless America" with equal fervour in public and in private. And so he was able to call confidently upon his fellow countrymen to make sacrifices for America - and to make sacrifices for those who looked to America for hope and rescue.
With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted up the world. And so today the world - in Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw, in Sofia, in Bucharest, in Kiev and in Moscow itself - the world mourns the passing of the Great Liberator and echoes his prayer "God Bless America."
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.
On that we have the plain testimony of a loving and grateful husband: "Nancy came along and saved my soul." We share her grief today. But we also share her pride - and the grief and pride of Ronnie's children.
For the final years of his life, Ronnie's mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again - more himself than at any time on this earth. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him. And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven's morning broke, I like to think - in the words of Bunyan - that "all the trumpets sounded on the other side."
We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children.
She was fabulous.
Stellar!!!! I wish I had seen her live...will try to do so otherwise.
Ping for Baroness Thatcher's words.
My vet (cold war NATO captain, 60s-era visitor to Russia) was a little misty today as we talked of our mutual admiration for Reagan. He'd just been listening to Thatcher.
(Hot spot meds, two arthritis meds -- need a day or two between them, one's a cadillac, one's a toyota, decide what's best, and since he's gained 10 pounds since last visit, looks like I've got a Diet Buddy for the month of June. Looking for Science Diet Senior "light" ... feed store here didn't have it.)
Thank you, I had missed Lady Thatcher's remarks.
What a tribute by a true friend!
=== a cheerful and invigorating presence
therein lies a major difference between Idealists -- men of conviction who can be counted on always to abide by those convictions -- and Pragmatists of the "personally opposed, but ..." variety.
Absolutely, I heard the end of her marks on the radio, and was deeply stirred by her oratory. She is a Baroness with a lion's heart and a true friend to Ronnie and our country.
This, most of all, broke me up.
The 'Iron Maiden' was spectacular!
By the way, did you see Evita's face? That woman is disturbed. If she can only put such a hateful and smug face on for the event, why didn't she stay home? She's such a wormy little dirt ball, so small and tactless.
Bump for later reading!
What a classy Lady...
Oh yes, her speech was quiet political...it destroyed the hopes and dreams of John Kerry. We now will go out, and win one for Gipper. Let no liberal lefty bad mouth the Reagan era...lest he find a thousand people ready to defend the best days of our lives.
If President Reagan has an equal in this world it is Lady Thatcher. God Bless the Iron Lady.
God bless the Iron Lady. What a fabulous speech. How utterly moving. They don't make them like that any more!
No... they were hoping that you didn't read the text or see the eulogy... they were hoping to push this great eulogy for this great man into Wellstone territory...
Wait for the rest of the alphabet networks to do the same.. they will try to make the Republicans "pay" for making a funeral a "Political rally" JUST LIKE THE DEMOCRATS DID...
the libs are pathetic b#tches and punks... so typical of them to try to make political what is truly inspirational. They are the ultimate aparatchik for the world wide war against American freedom. They are the "thought police" and propaganda arm of the communist, socialist, radical muslims that hope to bring down our country.
screw 'em ..... God Bless America.
She was amazing. Sigh! I cried during her part.
I missed it. Did she speak "live," or was the message pre-recorded?
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