Jewish World Review June 15, 2004 / 26 Sivan, 5762
What might Reagan say about the past week?
Well...this sure has been quite a week. For the first time in years I can
actually remember when Nancy and I planned the events of my official long
good-bye. I never imagined then just how remarkably perfect it would all be, or
conceived of some of the amazing things I have seen over the last few days.
First, I have to mention and thank all of those people who came to say
good-bye to me. I haven't been President for almost 16 years and haven't been in the
public eye for more than 10. How did all of these people even remember who I
am?! I saw so many children walk past me, young children who weren't even born
yet when I was President. And they all waited so very long, too long, just to
see my casket. I was worried about all of them and yet no one seemed to mind
all of the hassle involved.
I guess we really did do some memorable things. We must have meant a lot to
so many people. I thought I knew how much. As it turned out, I guess I really
I have to admit that I am shocked not only by how many people of all walks of
life came to say good-bye to me, but also by all of the media attention that
this has received. I had no idea I was still such a big deal! I certainly had
no inkling that news people like Tom Brokow, Dan Rather and Peter Jennings
cared so much about me as a person and as a President. I guess time has been
kind to my legacy or maybe they just have much shorter memories than I do now
that mine has finally been restored.
By the way, how about this Fox News Channel that I have been watching so much
of this week? Bow, I sure do wish we had this around when I was President.
As I looked at America this week, so much has changed since the time I left
public life. I see that Republicans now control both houses of congress and
the Presidency. I hope that I had at least a little something to do with that,
but I sure do wish they would start acting like the Republicans I knew in my
I was surprised to see that George's son is now President. Last I knew of him
he was the owner of a baseball team. I think I like him. He reminds me a lot
of another President with whom I am quite familiar. I certainly like him a lot
better than what I have already learned in the past few days about the guy
who came before him.
I even understand that a Republican Hollywood actor is now Governor of
California. I wonder where they got the idea THAT would work?
In the last few days I have also learned, for the first time, about the
horrible events of September 11th, 2001. I hear that Americans came through that
day stronger and more unified than they had been in many, many years. I also
understand that this unity has since faded away. Boy, I sure hope we can put
things back together soon. This seems like a REALLY tough enemy. The America that
I knew and loved would rise to this challenge like no other people have or
could. I hope we are still up to it. Being an optimist I know we can be, I just
hope that we will be.
I have to say that I awed by all the outpouring of love and affection that I
have seen during this past week. While I like pomp and pageantry as much as
anyone, I want America to know that this week was not about love of me, but
about love of our country. While part of me would like to think that the flag
waving crowds were honoring Ronald Reagan, most of me would want everyone to know
it was love of America that was being honored more than me. I was President. I
was not King. As such I was just a caretaker of this great office. Though I
must admit that I did enjoy the massive federal government being shut down for
a day in my memory. I wonder if anyone even noticed it was closed.
The past decade as I slowly lost all of my faculties was extremely difficult
for everyone, but on no one nearly as much as on my Nancy. Nancy, thank you
for all that you have endured for me. I loved you with everything I had before I
lost my memory, and now that I am fully aware of that you did to care for me
I am simply at a loss of words.
Thankfully, I am now free at last from the chains of my disease and grateful
that you finally are as well. I am so glad that America finally got to see you
this week as the Nancy that I knew and loved instead of the Nancy some wanted
them to see.
Nancy, be as strong as I know you will be. Live out and enjoy your final
years the best you can. G-d knows, no one deserves it more than you. Just don't
forget me and the fact that I have a spot reserved for you right here next to me
for us to watch this amazing sunset together. The view here is great. You are
all that is missing. Take your time, but know that I can't wait to see you
again and they we will have a lot of catching up to do once you get here.
All my love, Ronnie.
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JWR contributor John Ziegleris a talk show host on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2004, John Ziegler