On the day marking 100 years since his birth, it seemed like a fitting time to post this entry dedicated to former President Ronald Reagan. This was written on the day of his funeral nearly seven years ago.
Friday, June 11, 2004
This is the first entry of what I hope will become regular entries into my personal dairy. The funeral services for former President Ronald Reagan are just wrapping up at his Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. What an amazing day of final farewells for a great man. I really feel for his wife, Nancy. She crossed the country twice and has been by Ronnie’s coffin throughout the entire week of events commemorating President Reagan. She has been so composed and comforting, demonstrating depths of courage, fortitude and compassion beyond what anyone had any right to expect of her. She is an incredible woman to have made it through such difficult times with such grace. Tears came to my eyes many times throughout the services today, but she remained composed publicly up until the last time she approached the casket and said good-bye to her beloved husband.
Reagan’s funeral is the first state funeral I have witnessed – via CNN quite naturally. Journalism is the field I turned my back on nearly 10 years ago, yet it is the television news channels I turn to when major events happen and seem to go days without turning the channel.
Back to the subject I had in my mind when I started this, before it disappears among the jumble of my own thoughts and outside stimulus. I felt little when former President Richard Nixon died a few years ago. His Presidency was a time of my youth when politics were something adults paid attention to while us kids played. But Reagan’s Presidency was one I can recall. I may not have agreed with all of his actions but I do respect him as a man and thank him for having had the courage and desire to ascend to the Office of President and serve his country for eight years.
I’ve often said that those who are qualified to run the country are to smart to run for President. It is with complete faith in these words that I believe Reagan was the exception to that. He did what he thought was right – not just for our country, but for the entire world.
The outpouring by the public was awe-inspiring. I imagine that more than one percent of the total population of the United States paid their respects, either by walking by his casket while it laid in state in California and Washington D.C., or by lining the roads as he made his long final journey. He inspired American citizens to believe in the greatness of our country and it’s potential. Perhaps, we have lost track of that since Sept. 11, 2001 and the following invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by President George W. Bush. It seems weirdly fitting that Reagan through his passing has reminded us to believe in ourselves, our country and those we have elected to office.
For as long as I can remember, which admittedly seems to be very little of my past years, I have known that my life was to have meaning of more than just an individual person’s life. I’ve run scared of the future that was so vague and failed to live up to the expectations I knew *someone* had of me. Whom that someone is I do not know – perhaps my subconscious, perhaps a higher being. It really doesn’t matter, what does matter is that I am 36 years old and it is time to stop being afraid and to start down a path toward helping make the world a better place for all.
I have come to realize that politics is the path I am to follow. Quite a thing for someone to say whom still stutters occasionally and hates public speaking. A few months ago I briefly made notes of some of my ideas on how to improve life for all mankind. I will now refine those ideas and find a way to bring them to the attention of the public or of politicians. I have a long life left to live and perhaps one day I will aspire to a Governorship or even the Presidency, although both are unlikely.
No matter how it all turns out, I will always strive to be man that would make Reagan proud. His easiness with the public, his kindness towards everyone, his ability to inspire and his refusal to budge from his convictions, along with his eternal optimism, those are the qualities that commanded our respect. He earned every bit of the respect he received from his political peers and the public and his funeral befit his stature as a man and as an American. If I can one day garner even one-tenth of the respect he commanded, then I will consider myself a very lucky man indeed.
Fly with the angels Mr. Reagan. You deserve it. Thank you for inspiring me.