Remarks of Ron Reagan,
in Eulogy of President Ronald Reagan
History will record his worth as a leader. We here have long since measured his worth as a man. Honest, compassionate, graceful, brave. He was the most plainly decent man you could ever hope to meet.
He used to say, "A gentleman always does the kind thing." And he was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. A gentle man.
Big as he was, he never tried to make anyone feel small. Powerful as he became, he never took advantage of those who were weaker.
Strength, he believed, was never more admirable than when it was applied with restraint. Shopkeeper, doorman, king or queen, it made no difference, Dad treated everyone with the same unfailing courtesy. Acknowledging the innate dignity in us all.
The idea that all people are created equal was more than mere words on a page, it was how he lived his life. And he lived a good, long life. The kind of life good men lead. But I guess I'm just telling you things you already know....
He was, as you know, a famously optimistic man. Sometimes such optimism leads you to see the world as you wish it were as opposed to how it really is. At a certain point in his presidency, Dad decided he was going to revive the thumbs-up gesture. So he went all over the country, of course, giving everybody the thumbs up.
Doria and I found ourselves in the presidential limousine one day returning from some big event. My mother was there and Dad was, of course, thumbs-upping the crowd along the way, and suddenly, looming in the window on his side of the car, was this snarling face. This fellow was reviving an entirely different hand gesture. And hoisted an entirely different digit in our direction. Dad saw this and without missing a beat turned to us and said, "You see? I think it's catching on."
Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate. And there is a profound difference.
Humble as he was, he never would have assumed a free pass to heaven. But in his heart of hearts, I suspect he felt he would be welcome there. And so he is home. He is free....