Skip to comments.Thanks of a grateful nation
Posted on 06/11/2004 12:32:50 PM PDT by knighthawk
And so it will be this evening that Ronald Wilson Reagan will be laid to rest in the California he loved so well, in the America he loved beyond measure. Over the last few days, the nation has made clear that this love was requited. It has honored his memory and celebrated his legacy and embraced his widow with compassion. The President who projected the bright, shining glories of "morning in America" to so many will be bid final farewell as the sun is setting and the shadows lengthening and the twilight darkening into night. All of which is appropriate, for the shadows and the twilight and the night will lead inevitably, ineluctably, to yet another morning and the promise that it offers.
The shadows were lengthening Wednesday, when President Reagan's funeral cortege made its solemn way along Constitution Ave. to the Capitol. At some points, the crowd was 15 deep. Up on the Hill, another multitude waited, and stood in hours-long lines in the sweltering Washington heat, to pay their respects. It was as if they had lost not just a President, but a friend, the sort of friend who helped them see the best in themselves.
Because he had been a long time dying, the country was ready. Because his death was, in some respects, a blessing and release, there was less a national outpouring of grief than a compelling need among millions just to say goodbye. To say, "We never forgot you. We never will." The tributes, coming as they have from across the political spectrum, are testimony to Ronald Reagan's accomplishments. He did, indeed, help change the world.
America's response to the passing of the 40th President is both an eloquent reflection of the awe in which Americans hold the Oval Office and a powerful measure of how tall he stood in the room. "A graceful and a gallant man," eulogized Vice President Cheney. "A good man."
In 1986, after the Challenger space shuttle disaster, a President sought to comfort the nation. In his speech that night, he quoted from a poem, "High Flight," by John Gillespie Magee Jr., a young airman killed in 1941. The quote is worth repeating now. Ronald W. Reagan has "slipped the surly bonds of earth," put out his hand "and touched the face of God."
Rest in peace, Mr. President.
That's lovely knighthawk. Thanks for posting it.
At your service!
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