The hours many of us spent in watching the funeral services for President Reagan were mentally and emotionally exhausting, and we can’t even begin to imagine how they affected Mrs. Reagan as we saw her become more frail and weary each day.
We did realize, however, how fortunate we were to be able to witness the formal pageantry and heritage of our country.
As most of you have gathered through the years, this woman from Ima is a very sentimental person who reacts emotionally in many situations and who sheds tears without hesitation at the sight of our flag or the sound of our music. Seeing so many flags and hearing so much beautiful and stately music was overwhelming and most inspiring.
Listening to the many tributes to President Reagan let us know that people can still be very caring and can set aside critical remarks for a few days. To watch thousands of people showing their respect for a man and country was very moving. We can but hope that a few politicians listened to their own words as well as to those of others and might even become a little less aggressive in the approach to each other as they go about the business of government.
Because we have become such a casual society, we can also hope that many young people watched the formal ceremonies and saw the manners displayed at such times. They could have learned much about our history and the formal traditions embedded therein. In order to learn pride in country, they need to be exposed to those traditions and our heritage. They need to see how moving such ceremonies can be and to know how such pageantry has evolved.
During those days, We were also faced with the recognition of D-Day and were able to listen to so many of the great people involved in some of the major battles of World War II. By listening to those veterans recount their experiences, we were most definitely reminded of our history and of the real heroes of a major era in our nation’s history. We must never forget the gallantry that some of us can remember and from which our young people can learn. By the time the sun set in California, we could all stand a little taller for having been able to witness the beauty and sadness of that day and had regained a little hope that we can still come together as a nation to honor a man, his family, and the many heroes of the past. Each time the bands played “Hail to the Chief,” or the cannons fired twenty-one times, or the planes flew over, or the bells tolled, we couldn’t avoid feeling many kinds of emotions and remembering others who had gone before.
If we can but retain some of the pride and compassion we felt during those days, we will become stronger and kinder people.