Today was a scorcher in Washington, D.C. and the evening wasn’t much cooler
as we stood and waited to pay our last respects to President
Reagan. According to the <A
Post-Intelligencer: “By early evening, more than 100 people on the
National Mall had been treated for heat-related illnesses, fire officials
said. U.S. Capitol Police trucked in about 150,000 of bottles of water.”
But how would all that water reach the people standing in those long
lines? Senator Rick Santorum enlisted the young people working for the
Senate Republican Conference he chairs to spend the night walking cases of
water through the many lines so that no one would go thirsty. One young
staffer, who insisted she not be identified, said that Democratic staff
were helping the GOP’s water brigade.
The Senate Republican Conference also passed out 5,000 copies of the text
of a Senate Resolution Honoring President Reagan to give all of us waiting
a reminder of some of the reasons for Reagan’s greatness (“as a lifeguard .
. . saved the lives of 77 swimmers”).
The people mourning President Reagan tonight came from all walks of
life. I talked with Dean Workman, a Dallas, Texas, resident who was just
10 when Reagan became president. Workman vowed to attend Reagan’s funeral
and flew to Washington, D.C. this week to do precisely that.
As I left the Capitol area at 3:00 a.m. there were still thousands of
people waiting in line, including two young parents and their tiny baby,
all of us united to pay our respects to America’s greatest president.