Reagan funeral a shared experience

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2004

Why the pomp and circumstance for Ronald Reagan’s funeral? Perhaps the answer lies in the way Reagan conducted his presidency and his life.

He was a president who managed to be down to earth and larger than life at the same time. While appealing to us with his folksy ways, he also had a way of reminding us of the power of the presidency &045;&045; and how that reflected on the power of America and its sense of optimism.

This week’s funeral proceedings &045;&045; the body lying in repose at the presidential library; the solemn procession through the streets of Washington evoking the iconic images of John F. Kennedy’s funeral; today’s service at the national cathedral &045;&045; all serve as a shared national experience for us.

Email newsletter signup

Reagan, and his wife Nancy, must have realized how much such a sweeping gesture would affect the nation.

Historians themselves will judge Reagan through the lens of whether they agree with his policies.

History will judge Reagan by his actions during his presidency, and in some way history will judge his family by their actions after, when they were able to bring attention to the terrible disease that robbed him of himself.

But state funeral proceedings like these we have seen this week are also how we judge our presidency, and ourselves as Americans.

Such ceremony may just remind us all how we are all connected to that &uot;shining city on a hill&uot; of which Reagan often spoke.