Skip to comments.The Service: Moving Tributes to A Friend and Mentor
Posted on 06/11/2004 11:05:11 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - "I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord. He who believeth in me as though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
With those words from the Rev. John Danforth, the state funeral for President Ronald Reagan got under way promptly at 11:30 a.m.
President Reagan's family and close friends took their seats; and then Mrs. Reagan, standing alone in the aisle on the arm of her escort, walked to the front of the cathedral.
President George W. Bush took her arm and walked her to her place across the aisle from him.
Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, read from the Bible (Isaiah 40:28-31).
Then Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor read from a 1630 sermon of John Winthrop, as President Ronald Reagan had asked her to do years ago.
Lady Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, said her dear friend and staunch ally embraced the "great cause of cheering us all up." She praised his wonderful humor.
After the assassination attempt, Thatcher said, Ronald Reagan expressed the belief " that he had been given back his life for a purpose."
Said Thatcher, "As he told a priest after his recovery, 'Whatever time I have left now belongs to the Big Fella upstairs.'"
"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."
Lady Thatcher said Reagan's greatest legacy is the demise of the "Evil Empire" -- Communism. "The world mourns the passing of the great liberator," Lady Thatcher said.
"Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."
Former Canadian President Brian Mulroney discussed his experience with President Reagan in a Canadian departure hanger at the Ottawa airport in the spring of 1987.
They were waiting for their wives to join them for departure ceremonies, Mulroney said. He mentioned some of the serious topics the two men had previously discussed in Canada.
"And here we were -- waiting for our wives. When their car drove in a moment later, out stepped Nancy and Mila, looking like a million bucks. And as they headed toward us, President Reagan beamed -- he threw his arm around my shoulder, and he said, You know, Brian, for two Irishmen, we sure married up.'
"In that visit, in that moment, one saw the quintessential Ronald Reagan -- the leader we respected, the neighbor we admired, and the friend we loved."
"Ronald Reagan was a president who inspired his nation and transformed his world," said Mulroney.
President George Herbert Walker Bush teared up as he talked about the lessons he learned from his running mate.
"I learned more from Ronald Reagan than from anyone I encountered in all my years of public life. I learned kindness. We all did. I also learned courage. The nation did."
We have missed Ronald Reagan for a long time, President George W. Bush said in his eulogy. "He belongs to the ages now -- but we preferred it when he was here."
President Bush's eulogy touched on Ronald Reagan's many accomplishments in office, and his belief in the "courage and triumph and free men."
"As he showed us what a president should be, he also showed us what a man should be," Bush said. "Ronald Reagan carried himself, even in the most powerful office, with a decency and attention to small kindnesses that also define a good life.
"He was a courtly, gentle and considerate man, never known to slight or embarrass others."
President Bush said President Reagan became an "enduring symbol" of America. "We think of his steady stride; that tilt of the head and snap of the 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."
At the end of the service, pallbearers loaded Reagan's casket into the hearse and the family filed out of the cathedral while the cathedral bell tolled 40 times for the 40th president, something that was repeated again at 1:15pm and was echoed at churches across the country.
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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 that 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.
I watched the whole thing from start to finish. I am cable/satellite challenged, so I had to click between ABC, NBC and CBS. I had a difficult time finding one where they were not talking and commenting all of the time and was almost hollering at the TV for them to just shut up and allow me to observe. They thankfully did at the church.
The most moving part for me was when the honor guard came in to bring the President Reagan out again. They played the most mournful music with violins and drums that made me lose it. I wish I had taped that. I think they call that a dirge. It was haunting.
And Margaret Thatcher just spoke exquisitely...
This was a blessed event.
Thatcher...Mulroney...H.W. Bush...G.W. Bush...the songs...the entire event was beyond words, and as AHreald said, blessed.
The funeral was magnificent and the speeches splendid. Thanks to all those who participated. It was food for Americans hungry to hear realities that needs to be expressed.
I am grateful that my employer gave me the day off to be able to hear this in its entirely. It was an honest tribute to a man of great stature and great humanity. I didn't realize it when he was in the presidency, but I fully do now, having witnessed that most of the rest of the leaders of the world are either morally bankrupt or downright evil.
God blessed America by giving him to us as our leader.
His moral compass was always pointing in the direction of freedom and the greatness of America as a beacon for the world.
The Kerries and other far leftists and their useful idiots in the media and the universities should be deeply ashamed of how they daily do their best to distort facts and tear down all that makes the U.S. strong and to turn the U.S. into a communist nation, despite the bloody failure that murderous and oppressive political route proved itself to be for those living under its totalitarian thumb.
Millions live today in freedom because of Ronald Reagan.
This was a beautiful tribute. Im humbled to realize only now that Reagan was a hero and I didnt have the maturity a few decades ago to think for myself and realize it. The anti-American university education did its job on almost every student.
May we keep the legacy of Ronald Reagan alive in our hearts, our actions, and in the polling place.
I was doing just fine until they were putting the casket on the plane back to California and the band played "Going Home" then I lost it.
There isn't a soul here that would hold that against you. Now I know another place where I'm going to cry.
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