Here is the video clip of Margaret Thatcher's Eulogy for Ronald Reagan.
Scroll down for the transcript.
It follows the full text transcript of
Margaret Thatcher's Eulogy for Ronald Reagan, delivered
via pre-taped video at the National Cathedral in Washington
D.C. - June 11, 2004.
We have lost a
great president, a great American, and a great
man, and I have lost a dear friend.
In his lifetime,
Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and
invigorating presence that it was easy to forget
what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He
sought to mend Americaís wounded spirit, to
restore the strength of the free world, and to
free the slaves of communism.
These were causes
hard to accomplish and heavy with risk, yet they
were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit,
for Ronald Reagan also embodied another great
cause, what Arnold Bennett once called "the
great cause of cheering us all up". His policies
had a freshness and optimism that won converts
from every class and every nation, and
ultimately, from the very heart of the "evil
Yet his humor often had a purpose beyond humor.
In the terrible hours after the attempt on his
life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an
anxious world. They were evidence that in the
aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria
one great heart at least remained sane and
jocular. They were truly grace under pressure.
And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper
certainly believed that he had been given back
his life for a purpose. As he told a priest
after his recovery, "Whatever time Iíve got left
now belongs to the big fella upstairs." And
surely, it is hard to deny that Ronald Reaganís
life was providential when we look at what he
achieved in the eight years that followed.
Others prophesied the decline of the West. He
inspired America and its allies with renewed
faith in their mission of freedom.
Others saw only limits to growth. He transformed
a stagnant economy into an engine of
Others hoped, at best, for an uneasy
cohabitation with the Soviet Union. He won the
Cold War, not only without firing a shot, but
also by inviting enemies out of their fortress
and turning them into friends.
I cannot imagine how any diplomat or any
dramatist could improve on his words to Mikhail
Gorbachev at the Geneva summit. "Let me tell you
why it is we distrust you." Those words are
candid and tough, and they cannot have been easy
to hear. But they are also a clear invitation to
a new beginning and a new relationship that
would be rooted in trust.
We live today in the world that Ronald Reagan
began to reshape with those words. It is a very
different world, with different challenges and
new dangers. All in all, however, it is one of
greater freedom and prosperity, one more hopeful
than the world he inherited on becoming
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 Iíve had time and
cause to reflect on what made him a great
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
He knew almost instinctively what to do.
When his aides were preparing option papers for
his decision, they were able to cut out entire
rafts of proposals that they knew the old man
would never wear. When his allies came under
Soviet or domestic pressure, they could look
confidently to Washington for firm leadership,
and when his enemies tested American resolve,
they soon discovered that his resolve was firm
Yet his ideas, so clear, were never simplistic.
He saw the many sides of truth. Yes, he warned
that the Soviet Union had an insatiable drive
for military power and territorial expansion,
but he also sensed that it was being eaten away
by systemic failures impossible to reform. Yes,
he did not shrink from denouncing Moscowís evil
empire, but he realized that a man of good will
might nonetheless emerge from within its dark
So the president resisted Soviet expansion and
pressed down on Soviet weakness at every point
until the day came when communism began to
collapse beneath the combined weight of those
pressures and its own failures. And when a man
of good will did emerge from the ruins,
President Reagan stepped forward to shake his
hand and to offer sincere cooperation.
Nothing was more typical of Ronald Reagan than
that large-hearted magnanimity, and nothing was
Therein lies perhaps the final explanation of
his achievements. Ronald Reagan carried the
American people with him in his great endeavors
because there was perfect sympathy between them.
He and they loved America and what it stands
for: freedom and opportunity for ordinary
As an actor in Hollywoodís golden age, he helped
to make the American dream live for millions all
over the globe. His own life was a fulfillment
of that dream. He never succumbed to the
embarrassment some people feel about an honest
expression of love of country. He was able to
say "God bless America" with equal fervor in
public and in private. And so he was able to
call confidently upon his fellow countrymen to
make sacrifices for America and to make
sacrifices for those who look to America for
hope and rescue.
With the lever of American patriotism, he lifted
up the world. And so today, the world - in
Prague, in Budapest, in Warsaw and Sofia, in
Bucharest, in Kiev, and in Moscow itself, the
world mourns the passing of the great liberator
and echoes his prayer: God bless America.
Ronald Reaganís 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
We share her grief today, but we also share her
pride and the grief and pride of Ronnieís
children. For the final years of his life,
Ronnieís 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 Fellow upstairs never
forgets those who remember him. And as the last
journey of this faithful pilgrim took him beyond
the sunset, and as heavenís morning broke, I
like to think, in the words of 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 Godís children.