I was fortunate enough to be able to attend President Reagan’s funeral procession yesterday as well.
I won’t tell you about all the pomp and circumstance, or the sad beauty of a state funeral procession for the death of a beloved president, other than to say that it was like the death of a king. I’ll leave the sweeping descriptions to the media though. The things you won’t read about are the many beautiful little moments that took place.
Grown men weeping openly, and young children standing in awe, not quite able to understand whom this President Reagan was, but fully aware of the solemnity of the moment and that something very important was happening.
So many small things happened that I will never forget. Like the ten year old with the too large glasses looking up at the big Marine Corps photographer saying, “You’re a reporter? I’m a reporter too. I write for my school newspaper. We’re not as big as your paper is though. And I’m not so much a writer as a cartoonist really.”
Overhearing the old men who didn’t know each other figure out that they’d stayed at the same hotel at the ‘76 convention when Reagan challenged the incumbent President Ford, and where they heard the concession speech that ignited a movement. The father and his two sons who’d driven straight through the night from Missouri, who simply said, “We had to be here.” Or the five year old that instinctively took his baseball cap off as the caisson passed by who looked up at has father and whispered, “Daddy, take your hat off”, and his father nodding and smiling at his son through his tears, having been so completely overcome with emotion that he had forgotten to remove it.
The fighter jets buzzing the crowd in the missing man formation. Seeing the first flight group, then the second, then the third, and finally the fourth. And just as they reached Constitution Avenue seeing one of them take off at a 90-degree angle straight up until it was forever gone from sight, a beautiful symbol of Reagan’s entrance into Heaven.
What a beautiful day.