- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2004

The relationship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher stood firm, and not only because they were comrades who locked arms against the “Evil Empire.” They were close friends as well, and often spoke with one another after they had left their respective offices. As official Washington said its farewell to America’s 40th president, the baroness herself sat among the mourners in the magnificent National Cathedral. Following are excerpts of her videotaped remarks that were delivered yesterday.

“As Prime Minister, I worked closely with Ronald Reagan for eight of the most important years of all our lives. We talked regularly both before and after his presidency. And I have had time and cause to reflect on what made him a great president.

“Ronald Reagan knew his own mind. He had firm principles — and, I believe, right ones. He expounded them clearly, he acted upon them decisively.

“When the world threw problems at the White House, he was not baffled, or disorientated, or overwhelmed. He knew almost instinctively what to do…

“Ronald Reagan’s life was rich not only in public achievement, but also in private happiness. Indeed, his public achievements were rooted in his private happiness. The great turning point of his life was his meeting and marriage with Nancy.

“On that we have the plain testimony of a loving and grateful husband: ‘Nancy came along and saved my soul.’ We share her grief today. But we also share her pride — and the grief and pride of Ronnie’s children.

“For the final years of his life, Ronnie’s mind was clouded by illness. That cloud has now lifted. He is himself again — more himself than at any time on this Earth. For we may be sure that the Big Fella Upstairs never forgets those who remember Him.

“And as the last journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond the sunset, and as heaven’s morning broke, I like to think — in the words of [John] Bunyan — that ‘all the trumpets sounded on the other side’.

“We here still move in twilight. But we have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God’s children.”

Amen.

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