I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.
- Ronald Wilson Reagan
He is home now. He is free. 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.
- Ron Reagan Jr.
I don't know why Alzheimer's was allowed to steal so much of my father before releasing him into the arms of death. But I know that at his last moment, when he opened his eyes -- eyes that had not opened for many, many days -- and looked at my mother, he showed us that neither disease nor death can conquer love.
- Patti Davis
You know my father as governor, as president, but I knew him as dad. I was so proud to have the Reagan name and to be Ronald Reagan's son.
- Michael Reagan
I was working yesterday morning, so I missed the funeral service in Washington for President Reagan. Since I was home by myself last night, I decided to watch the burial service from California. Given what I've had to say about Reagan's legacy over the past week, some of y'all might be surprised at that, but I am at heart a historian, and this was a chance to watch and experience history.
I was quite touched by the service. It was simple, understated, and yet very moving. Regardless of how one feels about the man's politics, Ronald Reagan was a man who clearly meant a great deal to a large number of people. In many respects, that is the ultimate measure of a life. Without a doubt, Ronald Reagan's was a life well-led. I listened to the poignant and humor-tinged words his children spoke about him, and I found myself hoping that when I am laid to rest, I will have had even half the impact on someone's life that he had on his children's.
Though I have written some harsh things about Reagan's legacy, that was about Ronald Reagan the politician. I bear no malice toward Ronald Reagan as a human being. From all accounts, he was a kind, gentle, thoughtful, and giving person with a genuinely sunny disposition. And who among us can honestly say that they wouldn't want their marriage to mirror the love and commitment shared by Ronald and Nancy Reagan? It may have seemed an American fairy tale, but anyone who has paid attention to Nancy Reagan this week has been able to see the pain that she has had to endure in a very public manner. Their devotion to one another was no Potemkin village; it was real, and it was strong.
I'm not ashamed to say that I had tears in my eyes when Nancy Reagan was leaning on her husband's casket at the end of the service. I cannot imagine what it must be like to have to let go of a partner who has been part and parcel of virtually every aspect of your life for the past 50 years or so. My heart goes out to her, as well as to her children. Most families are allowed to grieve in private, or at least before small gatherings. The Reagan family has had to bear their grief in the most public of forums.
It was a beautiful, touching service in a setting of surpassing beauty and majesty. Many people are grieving the loss of Ronald Wilson Reagan, both as a man and as a President. I may not share the opinion of the majority regarding Reagan the President, but I cannot argue with his worth and legacy as a man. I was as moved as anyone else by the service. For at least one night, I was able to separate the man from the politician. We will likely not soon see the likes of either again.