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Remarks By President Bush in Eulogy for Former President Ronald Wilson Reagan
www.georgewbush.com ^ | June 11, 2004 | George W. Bush

Posted on 06/11/2004 10:57:45 AM PDT by wmichgrad

THE PRESIDENT: Mrs. Reagan, Patti, Michael, and Ron; members of the Reagan family; distinguished guests, including our Presidents and First Ladies; Reverend Danforth; fellow citizens:

We lost Ronald Reagan only days ago, but we have missed him for a long time. We have missed his kindly presence, that reassuring voice, and the happy ending we had wished for him. It has been ten years since he said his own farewell; yet it is still very sad and hard to let him go. Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us.

In a life of good fortune, he valued above all the gracious gift of his wife, Nancy. During his career, Ronald Reagan passed through a thousand crowded places; but there was only one person, he said, who could make him lonely by just leaving the room.

America honors you, Nancy, for the loyalty and love you gave this man on a wonderful journey, and to that journey's end. Today, our whole nation grieves with you and your family.

When the sun sets tonight off the coast of California, and we lay to rest our 40th President, a great American story will close. The second son of Nell and Jack Reagan first knew the world as a place of open plains, quiet streets, gas-lit rooms, and carriages drawn by horse. If you could go back to the Dixon, Illinois of 1922, you'd find a boy of 11 reading adventure stories at the public library, or running with his brother, Neil, along Rock River, and coming home to a little house on Hennepin Avenue. That town was the kind of place you remember where you prayed side by side with your neighbors, and if things were going wrong for them, you prayed for them, and knew they'd pray for you if things went wrong for you.

The Reagan family would see its share of hardship, struggle and uncertainty. And out of that circumstance came a young man of steadiness, calm, and a cheerful confidence that life would bring good things. The qualities all of us have seen in Ronald Reagan were first spotted 70 and 80 years ago. As a lifeguard in Lowell Park, he was the protector keeping an eye out for trouble. As a sports announcer on the radio, he was the friendly voice that made you see the game as he did. As an actor, he was the handsome, all-American, good guy, which, in his case, required knowing his lines -- and being himself.

Along the way, certain convictions were formed and fixed in the man. Ronald Reagan believed that everything happened for a reason, and that we should strive to know and do the will of God. He believed that the gentleman always does the kindest thing. He believed that people were basically good, and had the right to be free. He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of. He believed in the Golden Rule and in the power of prayer. He believed that America was not just a place in the world, but the hope of the world.

And he believed in taking a break now and then, because, as he said, there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.

Ronald Reagan spent decades in the film industry and in politics, fields known, on occasion, to change a man. But not this man. From Dixon to Des Moines, to Hollywood to Sacramento, to Washington, D.C., all who met him remembered the same sincere, honest, upright fellow. Ronald Reagan's deepest beliefs never had much to do with fashion or convenience. His convictions were always politely stated, affably argued, and as firm and straight as the columns of this cathedral.

There came a point in Ronald Reagan's film career when people started seeing a future beyond the movies. The actor, Robert Cummings, recalled one occasion. "I was sitting around the set with all these people and we were listening to Ronnie, quite absorbed. I said, 'Ron, have you ever considered someday becoming President?' He said, 'President of what?' 'President of the United States,' I said. And he said, 'What's the matter, don't you like my acting either?'" (Laughter.)

The clarity and intensity of Ronald Reagan's convictions led to speaking engagements around the country, and a new following he did not seek or expect. He often began his speeches by saying, "I'm going to talk about controversial things." And then he spoke of communist rulers as slavemasters, of a government in Washington that had far overstepped its proper limits, of a time for choosing that was drawing near. In the space of a few years, he took ideas and principles that were mainly found in journals and books, and turned them into a broad, hopeful movement ready to govern.

As soon as Ronald Reagan became California's governor, observers saw a star in the West -- tanned, well-tailored, in command, and on his way. In the 1960s, his friend, Bill Buckley, wrote, "Reagan is indisputably a part of America, and he may become a part of American history."

Ronald Reagan's moment arrived in 1980. He came out ahead of some very good men, including one from Plains, and one from Houston. What followed was one of the decisive decades of the century, as the convictions that shaped the President began to shape the times.

He came to office with great hopes for America, and more than hopes -- like the President he had revered and once saw in person, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan matched an optimistic temperament with bold, persistent action. President Reagan was optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, and he acted to restore the reward and spirit of enterprise. He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required. He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.

And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by its name. There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American President had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings, where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall as the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.

The ideology he opposed throughout his political life insisted that history was moved by impersonal ties and unalterable fates. Ronald Reagan believed instead in the courage and triumph of free men. And we believe it, all the more, because we saw that courage in him.

As he showed what a President should be, he also showed us what a man should be. Ronald Reagan carried himself, even in the most powerful office, with a decency and attention to small kindnesses that also defined a good life. He was a courtly, gentle and considerate man, never known to slight or embarrass others. Many people across the country cherish letters he wrote in his own hand -- to family members on important occasions; to old friends dealing with sickness and loss; to strangers with questions about his days in Hollywood. A boy once wrote to him requesting federal assistance to help clean up his bedroom. (Laughter.)

The President replied that, "unfortunately, funds are dangerously low." (Laughter.) He continued, "I'm sure your mother was fully justified in proclaiming your room a disaster. Therefore, you are in an excellent position to launch another volunteer program in our nation. Congratulations." (Laughter.)

Sure, our 40th President wore his title lightly, and it fit like a white Stetson. In the end, through his belief in our country and his love for our country, he became an enduring symbol of our country. We think of his steady stride, that tilt of a head and snap of a salute, the big-screen smile, and the glint in his Irish eyes when a story came to mind.

We think of a man advancing in years with the sweetness and sincerity of a Scout saying the Pledge. We think of that grave expression that sometimes came over his face, the seriousness of a man angered by injustice -- and frightened by nothing. We know, as he always said, that America's best days are ahead of us, but with Ronald Reagan's passing, some very fine days are behind us, and that is worth our tears.

Americans saw death approach Ronald Reagan twice, in a moment of violence, and then in the years of departing light. He met both with courage and grace. In these trials, he showed how a man so enchanted by life can be at peace with life's end.

And where does that strength come from? Where is that courage learned? It is the faith of a boy who read the Bible with his mom. It is the faith of a man lying in an operating room, who prayed for the one who shot him before he prayed for himself. It is the faith of a man with a fearful illness, who waited on the Lord to call him home.

Now, death has done all that death can do. And as Ronald Wilson Reagan goes his way, we are left with the joyful hope he shared. In his last years, he saw through a glass darkly. Now he sees his Savior face to face.

And we look to that fine day when we will see him again, all weariness gone, clear of mind, strong and sure, and smiling again, and the sorrow of his parting gone forever.

May God bless Ronald Reagan, and the country he loved.


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bush; bush43; eulogy; funeral; reagan; ronaldreagan; transcript
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Great job by President Bush.
1 posted on 06/11/2004 10:57:46 AM PDT by wmichgrad
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To: wmichgrad

BOOKMARKED.


2 posted on 06/11/2004 10:58:50 AM PDT by onyx
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To: onyx

Yes, very powerful, and comfoting.


3 posted on 06/11/2004 11:00:58 AM PDT by homemom (God bless the Reagans, God Bless Pres. and Mrs. Bush and the Bush admin., and God bless the USA!)
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To: wmichgrad
The entire meeting, and particularly President Bush's remarks (which I view as one of his best speeches to date) was absoultely the most moving and spiritual meeting I have ever witnessed outside of my own wedding and the funeral for my own father.

It will be remembered in years to come as an historic event that will have great impact on the people of America, our voting and institutions and I believe on the world population that witnessed it.

Ronald Reagan serves the cause of freedom even after his death and his legacy continues to grow...and it is because he epitomized tat faith and heritage that made this nation what it is...and then he went about living it.

The entire service was a testament to the faith, heritage and strength of America and laid it out for the world to see...including our enemies, foreign and domestic. It also made plain the strength of those convictions and values and how they can bring down tyranny and change the world...as the life of this great man demonstrates.

It was a literal ANSWER TO PRAYER.

4 posted on 06/11/2004 11:01:11 AM PDT by Jeff Head (Pres Reagan...your memory and impact have not dimmed...only aged and grown stronger!)
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To: Jeff Head

Well said, Jeff.


5 posted on 06/11/2004 11:02:41 AM PDT by JennysCool ("I'm not worried about the deficit. It's big enough to take care of itself." - RWR)
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To: wmichgrad

this is the part that really got me:

"It is the faith of a man with a fearful illness who waited on the Lord to call him home."

As my own Dad suffers as a quadraplegic due to spinal cord injury.


6 posted on 06/11/2004 11:04:51 AM PDT by Ludicrous
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To: JennysCool
...it's just the truth...and a truth that, IMHO, was abundantly witnessed to and felt as a result of that service.
7 posted on 06/11/2004 11:05:09 AM PDT by Jeff Head (Pres Reagan...your memory and impact have not dimmed...only aged and grown stronger!)
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To: JennysCool

Bush touched on everything I'd hoped. Reagan wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, yet he had such a rich and generous spirit. Truly the best things in life are free.


8 posted on 06/11/2004 11:05:25 AM PDT by ruthles
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To: wmichgrad

it was a good speech.

also, i enjoyed very much lady margaret thatcher's speech, about her dear friend, ronald reagan.

ronald reagan always presented a friendly and optimistic countenance. and there is much to be learned from that.


9 posted on 06/11/2004 11:07:03 AM PDT by no_problema
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To: wmichgrad

Tremendous eulogy. Perfect in every way.


10 posted on 06/11/2004 11:08:47 AM PDT by veronica (Viva la Reagan revolution....)
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To: no_problema

Baroness Thatcher's speech was indeed a very hard act to follow for the others.


11 posted on 06/11/2004 11:08:56 AM PDT by The Sons of Liberty
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To: wmichgrad
I think this was the best part of the President's remarks:

Now, death has done all that death can do. And as Ronald Wilson Reagan goes his way, we are left with the joyful hope he shared. In his last years, he saw through a glass darkly. Now he sees his Savior face to face.

12 posted on 06/11/2004 11:09:54 AM PDT by mrobison (We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.)
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To: wmichgrad

A wonderful speech. I only wish he repeated the line that Ronald Reagan was "A National Treasure." Perhaps the fact that it was not in the prepared remarks indicates that it was impromptu and from deep within his heart when George W Bush spoke it. My intent is not to find fault but rather express my feelings that Ronald Wilson Reagan was most definitely our National Treasure. Fairwell, dear friend and leader.


13 posted on 06/11/2004 11:12:04 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004))
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To: wmichgrad
"...Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us...."

Amen to that!

However, on a related note, much has been made about whether Ronald Reagan's likeness should be put on our money. I suggest the the reverse of the penny, opposite Abe Lincoln. Lincoln freed the slaves and saved the union, Reagan freed the the slaves of communism and saved the world from World War Three. Both men were humble as a penny. It would be fitting for them both to be on the penny, the first coin of children.

14 posted on 06/11/2004 11:14:44 AM PDT by elbucko (Invading Iraq & Quaker Oats: "It's the right thing to do.")
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To: Jeff Head
It will be remembered in years to come as an historic event that will have great impact on the people of America, our voting and institutions and I believe on the world population that witnessed it.

From your keyboard to God's ear, my friend.

15 posted on 06/11/2004 11:30:01 AM PDT by j_tull ("I may make you feel, but I can't make you think.")
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To: wmichgrad

Best speech he's ever delivered. I have to say the President made the country feel proud. It wasn't soaring oratory, but it was plain-spoken, from the heart, and it spoke about what America loved about Ronald Reagan. Anyway, my impression of the entire service was that it was solemn, dignified, and stately. What a contrast to the Democrats' Paul Wellstone campaign rally!


16 posted on 06/11/2004 11:31:31 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: elbucko

Good on ya,' elbucko.


17 posted on 06/11/2004 11:32:41 AM PDT by doxteve
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To: elbucko

Well, but we'd screw up heads and tails!


18 posted on 06/11/2004 11:41:49 AM PDT by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: j_tull
I pray it will be so...and believe it will because of the strength of that service...the Lord's Spirit was in it and that Spirit has the strength to open minds, clear eyes, and penetrate hearts.

Best Fregards.

19 posted on 06/11/2004 11:45:28 AM PDT by Jeff Head (Pres Reagan...your memory and impact have not dimmed...only aged and grown stronger!)
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To: wmichgrad
Bookmarked. I'll have to put together a bunch of the eulogies for my own reference. Has anyone created a bookmark list of the all yet?
20 posted on 06/11/2004 11:46:57 AM PDT by zeugma (The Great Experiment is over.)
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To: wmichgrad

I missed the funeral this morning. Does anyone know if it will be run tonight on C-SPAN? Thank you.


21 posted on 06/11/2004 11:54:58 AM PDT by tuesday afternoon (What would Ronnie say?)
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To: wmichgrad

Well done, Misters President.


22 posted on 06/11/2004 11:59:38 AM PDT by LOC1
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To: wmichgrad
We think of a man advancing in years with the sweetness and sincerity of a Scout saying the Pledge.

Boy does he know how to rub the noses of the liberals in it!

23 posted on 06/11/2004 12:09:55 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: LOC1

That would make a person cry that didn't even know who Reagan was, simply because you didn't get to meet the man that inspired the words.

And every last darn word of it the gospel truth. One has to admire the ability of a writer that can create such a perfect image of a man with words alone.


24 posted on 06/11/2004 12:21:49 PM PDT by IamConservative (A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.)
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To: Jeff Head

Yes, Good Sir... your prayers certainly were answered.

Now the baton is passed to us, the living... and we can take strength from our departed Hero. RR reminded us that that our Founding Fathers - and all American Patriots from that day to this - had lived and sacrificed for us, their descendents. And in remembering this gift, we could stand fast against the trials of our day.

We can now add his name and memory to that long line of Heroes whom we honor. God Bless and Keep him, and God Bless America.

CGVet58


25 posted on 06/11/2004 12:34:27 PM PDT by CGVet58 (God has granted us Liberty, and we owe Him Courage in return)
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To: RepoGirl

bump one for the gipper.


26 posted on 06/11/2004 12:38:00 PM PDT by Big Guy and Rusty 99 (Liberals should be hunted for sport!)
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To: wmichgrad
I thought it was great too. I heard it on abc radio in my car. I almost went off the road when Sam Donaldson said he thought W did an excellent job, and called it his best public performance ever.. or something complimentary to that effect.
27 posted on 06/11/2004 12:38:18 PM PDT by yournamehere
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To: wmichgrad

I did not get to see the speech - but simply reading it was quite moving...


28 posted on 06/11/2004 12:44:45 PM PDT by The Electrician
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To: wmichgrad

Agreed. Just a terrific job by President Bush, as well as the other eulogists.


29 posted on 06/11/2004 1:07:50 PM PDT by Loyal Buckeye ((Kerry is a flake))
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To: wmichgrad

30 posted on 06/11/2004 1:09:22 PM PDT by NautiNurse (Missing Iraqi botulinum toxin? Look at John Kerry's face)
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To: NautiNurse

Thank God George Bush is our president today.


31 posted on 06/11/2004 1:15:38 PM PDT by TravisBickle (Are you talking to me?)
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To: TravisBickle
Since 9/11 I often thank the Good Lord that President Bush was the man called to lead the nation at one of our darkest hours.

From the depths of a man's soul circumstances often call forth a potential for greatness only God knows that man possesses because God granted him that gift. Few men have that greatness of mind, spirit and courage to lead a country in times of crisis, of darkness of war and now of terror. President Ronald Reagan displayed his gift by winning the cold war for mankind. I believe President Bush is called upon now to lead mankind in this war on terror that threatens all civilized societies just as communism did in President Reagan's time.

All that said, I think the respect and admiration held by his eulogists shone through today and for that I am grateful to them all.
32 posted on 06/11/2004 1:26:55 PM PDT by BlessedByLiberty (Respectfully submitted,)
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To: goldstategop
Anyway, my impression of the entire service was that it was solemn, dignified, and stately. What a contrast to the Democrats' Paul Wellstone campaign rally!

You are so right -- was totally struck by how solemn and dignified this service was, but knew it would be. Unlike the RATs, Nancy Reagan is class!

33 posted on 06/11/2004 1:37:36 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Support Bush-Cheney '04 -- Losing is not an Option! Win One for the Gipper!)
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To: NautiNurse

Thank you for posting that picture of President Bush after he had just given a heartfelt eulogy for President Reagan. He was wonderful with his speech and most impressed with how he has handled the honoring of President Reagan with his quiet dignity and non-grandstanding. This wasn't about him but about honoring Pres Reagan and his wife, Nancy, for all her support.

Makes you realize all the more what it is like to have dignified people in the WH versus photo op types.


34 posted on 06/11/2004 1:40:42 PM PDT by PhiKapMom (AOII Mom -- Support Bush-Cheney '04 -- Losing is not an Option! Win One for the Gipper!)
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To: BlessedByLiberty

I believe that history will be very kind to George W., and those who speak so ill of him today will be shamed into denial.


35 posted on 06/11/2004 1:44:35 PM PDT by TravisBickle (Are you talking to me?)
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To: wmichgrad

Amen!


36 posted on 06/11/2004 1:55:04 PM PDT by Rockitz (After all these years, it's still rocket science.)
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To: TravisBickle
Thank God George Bush is our president today.

When C-span panned to Al Gore during the funeral I made the same comment out loud even though I was in watching in my living room alone and there was no one to hear.

Again, thank God George Bush is our President ...may he be so until 2008.

37 posted on 06/11/2004 2:03:34 PM PDT by The Citizen Soldier ("We will always remember. We will always be proud." Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984)
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To: wmichgrad

Between President Bush and Lady Thatcher, I couldn't keep my eyes dry.


38 posted on 06/11/2004 2:05:55 PM PDT by The_Victor
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To: wmichgrad
It was truly one of the finest speeches I've ever heard.

This is the type of speech that makes you proud that George Walker Bush is our current President. It will definitely inspire Americans to re-election him come this November, too.

39 posted on 06/11/2004 2:31:13 PM PDT by RayChuang88
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To: wmichgrad

Ronald Reagan confirmed my Republican Conservatism, Bill Clinton unctuated it, and George Bush holds me betrothed.


40 posted on 06/11/2004 3:40:10 PM PDT by My back yard ("I may be slow, but I'm miles ahead of you.")
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To: wmichgrad
>>>Great job by President Bush.

Ditto. Very moving eulogy.

As were the eulogies given by Brian Mulroney, Lady Thatcher and Bush41. Nice service all the way around.

41 posted on 06/11/2004 3:46:49 PM PDT by Reagan Man (The choice is clear. Reelect BUSH-CHENEY !)
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To: MadIvan

ping


42 posted on 06/11/2004 3:53:21 PM PDT by Desdemona
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To: Desdemona

The Wind in Old Glory

At Andrews Airbase
In Washington today
Even Old Glory stood strictly
At perfect attention
With well-earned honors arrayed
The Stars and Stripes
Saluted our beloved leader
As westward
Ronald Reagan
For the last time
Into the setting sun
Flew majestically away

EV


43 posted on 06/11/2004 3:54:47 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: wmichgrad

May God bless America with true leaders such as this in the days, months and years ahead.

There will never be another Dutch Reagan, but may we find those who are wise enough to follow his stellar example of what it is to be a man, a patriot and a Christian gentleman.


44 posted on 06/11/2004 3:57:29 PM PDT by EternalVigilance
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To: goldstategop

"Anyway, my impression of the entire service was that it was solemn, dignified, and stately. What a contrast to the Democrats' Paul Wellstone campaign rally!"

I don't have the words to adequately express my agreemnt here.


45 posted on 06/11/2004 4:00:04 PM PDT by ChevyZ28 (THERE HAS NEVER BEEN AND NEVER WILL BE ANOTHER PRESIDENT TO HOLD A CANDLE TO RONALD REAGAN)
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To: wmichgrad

This was an incredible eulogy. It was perfect, and he kept looking gently at Nancy.


46 posted on 06/11/2004 4:36:40 PM PDT by McGavin999 (If Kerry can't deal with the "Republican Attack Machine" how is he going to deal with Al Qaeda)
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: goldstategop

I was listening to Michael Savage tonight and he said Reagans eulogy was bland, and Savage didn't remember one thing from it. He was also going on about how there was too much coverage of the mournng. I turned him off.


48 posted on 06/11/2004 8:18:48 PM PDT by Rennes Templar
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To: wmichgrad

save


49 posted on 06/11/2004 8:20:59 PM PDT by krunkygirl
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To: wmichgrad


President, Reagan and Vice President George. H. W. Bush
Today, June 11, 2004 President George W. Bush, Son and President, Paid His Deepest and Most Respectful Honor
To President Reagan
and always to his dad.

50 posted on 06/11/2004 9:10:08 PM PDT by harpo11 (Goodbye to the Old Breed. It is Now Our Time to Carry Their Well Protected and Defended Baton)
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