Friday, June 11, 2004
Watching the Reagan memorial at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., I'm moved by the words of Margaret Thatcher and Brian Mulroney-- clear, heartfelt, genuine words. The eulogies of both Presidents Bush were equally moving. If you didn't see or hear the service, go read the eulogies:
The entire week was touching, and it reminded me about what's missing in politics today. Bush 41 was correct when he said "Politics can be cruel, uncivil." Reagan separated politics from his incredible humanity. His greatest political foes were some of his best personal friends. His optimism, conviction, strength, selflessness, humor, moral clarity, and love of country were his most defining characteristics. These are the characteristics that are sorely lacking in most politicians today, politicians who are driven by selfish motivations.
Regardless of how one feel about his policies, it's hard to not like the man. His sense of humor was infectious, and his manner of soothing millions was amazing. The relationship he had with his wife was all too rare, and it's hard to imagine how she felt this week. Just seeing her touching his casket and talking to him at every opportunity nearly brought me to tears. The scenes from this week have been a testament to the man. Who would have imagined Mikhail Gorbechev sitting next to Lady Thatcher? The memorial service was the ultimate mish-mash of ideologies and personalities.
Through all of it, I wondered when we might have another ex-President who will bring so many together like Reagan has. Four former Presidents were there: Ford, Carter, Clinton and Bush. Of them, I can't imagine any evoking this kind of outpouring from the U.S. and the world. Who will give their eulogies, and what will they say? If the outpouring of emotion and respect at one's death is an indication of their character, then Reagan was clearly one of the most charismatic leaders of our generation. History will decide the legacy of his Presidency. His legacy in my mind is already clear.
Rest in peace, Mr. President. God bless.
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