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Final Farewell

Posted by Rick · June 11th, 2004 · 5 Comments

You did not have to be a great admirer of Ronald Wilson Reagan to mourn his passing. You did not have to have great respect for him as a President.

You didn’t even have to be an American.

Ronald Reagan was put to rest today with a funeral that was as large and as splendid as was the man himself.

I will confess to you here and now that I was not the greatest fan of his policies. In spite of that, I find it impossible to watch the funeral without shedding a tear, without missing the man.

Brian Mulroney today said,

Ronald Reagan will not have to worry about Erin because they remember him well and affectionately there. Indeed they do: from Erin to Estonia, from Maryland to Madagascar from Montreal to Monterey. Ronald Reagan does not enter history tentatively — he does so with certainty and panache.

Mulroney quoted the French President, Francois Mitterand, who said,

“Il a vraiment la notion de l’Etat.” Rough translation: “He really has a sense of the State about him.” The translation does not fully capture the profundity of the observation: what President Mitterrand meant was that there is a vast difference between the job of president and the role of president.

Ronald Reagan truly filled the role of President of the United States of America. How fitting it was then that, as the Reverend Michael Wenning put it,

We have come from sea to shining sea to this soil which he loved so much and where his body will remain.

Tonight, as I chanted the berakhot over the candles, wine and bread, my voice waivered a little. I felt, in my heart, that I was also saying a kaddish.

As I said, you did not have to honor the policies. I did not.

The man is another story.

Categories: Obituary


5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 nick meyer // Jun 11, 2004 at 9:25 pm

    The outpouring of love that was shown this past week and especially today could serve as a testiment in itself. President Reagan touched many, many lives with courtesy, decency and respect. In my mind the most honest leader we have had in quite a long time. It was a very sad day for me indeed but as a Christian I truly believe he has received his reward and is looking at the way we came together as a united People to honor him and he is smiling. America suffered a great loss and I do not see a man of his caliber or dignity anywhere in our near future. We need to look to the future, realize how dismal it REALLY looks and come together(as we have done this week), all parties to the table and discuss issues rationally and sanely and try to come up with some answers to our pending issues. Who can honestly say how much time we have left? I can’t!!! Can you?

  • 2 Bob // Jun 11, 2004 at 9:35 pm

    After days of national pomp and ceremony I felt more for Nancy Reagan than anyone else. She was a tower of strength during all the speeches, she was a woman of state at all times. I thought maybe there was TOO much ceremony for the poor woman.

    I hope she finds privacy and rest in the near future.

    And I agree Reagan had a swagger and a sense of stately presence that no president since has demonstrated.

    Some are meant to be president, some are meant to be leaders.

  • 3 Mark // Jun 11, 2004 at 11:57 pm

    I never could understand the Christians and their affinity for the man. Jimmy Carter taught a Sunday School class while he was President. Reagan claimed he couldn’t go to church because the Secret Service said it was a security risk. He could go all around the country speaking to large crowds without worrying the Secret Service. But he claimed they wouldn’t let him go to church because of security concerns. Did any rational person believe this explanation?

    Honest? I don’t think so. The church and God thing is just one example of how Reagan was about as duplicitous as they come.

    He was a fairly good actor. He could read the script that was put in front of him — much better than another individual I won’t name right now who cannot speak English well. He made some people feel good (why, I’ve never been able to understand, but that doesn’t change the fact that he DID make SOME people feel good). Apparently he was a decent husband (even if he was a lousy father — something I could say about my own father).

    But honest? If Reagan was honest, I’m the Pope.

    And the mythology spread this week about how popular he was simply isn’t true. His popularity ratings were nothing to brag about, and were lower than Clinton’s while the two served their respective times in office, regardless of what the right-wing media wants to say this week.

    More on this later, if Rick will post the lengthy tome I hope to write this weekend.

  • 4 nick meyer // Jun 12, 2004 at 5:43 pm

    Carter was NOT shot at and wounded the first month he was in office either. I did not agree with Carters laxadaisical leadership but as a man I have to say he was okay. He has accomplished some great things after he left office. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization. Mark, whether you agreed with him or not you can’t deny the fact that he did unite us as a people. Ted Kennedy, Tip O Neill and many others in the opposing party have attested to this fact during his leadership years and again this week. The class and dignity with no nonsense politics that he brought to D.C. was unmistakable. He led with morals and ethics and a deep caring for his fellow man. Why you have to spout the negative rhetoric less than 24 hours after his burial is beyond me. Do you honestly think America as a whole will waist 1/10 of the the time talking about the graet things Clinton did and his character. You can only talk about a lier, cheater, immoral unethical person so long before you get sick. We spent the time remembering the man because he was GREAT. I wish Washington would act the way it did when President Reagan was LEADING. Bring the issues to the table, argue, disagree, but eventually come to a conclusion, never forgetting the feelings of the people you are dealing with. Something, Mark, you have not shown much of here on this sad time in out great country’s history. But as a Christian I can’t and won’t hold it against you. I will pray for you my FRIEND!!!

  • 5 Mark // Jun 12, 2004 at 11:26 pm


    Reagan did not “unite.” He and his ideas were (and still are) controversial and harmful. More on this later.

    And Clinton averaged and left office with higher approval ratings than your boy Ronnie did.

    But let’s keep the focus on Reagan — there’s a LOT to talk about there. I hope to write at some length before the weekend is out. What I share will, no doubt, make you uncomfortable, Nick. But it might also make you think. You sound like a decent person. I can’t believe that you would agree with many of the things this guy did during his eight years in office. The myth we’ve been bombarded with over the past week is one thing. The facts are something entirely different.

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