Tribute to President Ronald Reagan
D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this evening
on the House floor to honor former President Ronald Reagan during
consideration of a Bereavement Resolution for President Reagan,
who died on June 5. Below are Pelosi's remarks:
with the death of President Ronald Reagan and the dignity with which
he left us, there is truly 'mourning in America.' If the meaning
of a life can be measured by the hearts touched by one's death,
the outpouring of grief at the death of our 40th President speaks
to the distinctly 'American Life' that was Ronald Wilson Reagan.
mourn Ronald Reagan as our Governor. All Americans mourn Ronald
Reagan as our President. And people the world over mourn Ronald
Reagan the passionate voice for freedom. Today, a grateful nation
remembers Ronald Reagan the man.
his indomitable optimism and abiding love of country. Ronald Reagan
understood the greatness of America has always been the character
of the American people. As Americans, we have always dared to dream.
And so President Reagan appealed to the enduring belief that sustains
us as a people - that America's best days are yet to come.
his leadership. Those of us on this side of the aisle may not have
always stood with him in matters of policy. But we always knew where
he stood - as did he - when it came to matters of principle. And
though firm in his convictions, President Reagan was not afraid
of compromise. Indeed, the life-long crusader against Communism
will be always remembered for signing the first agreement with the
Soviet Union to actually destroy nuclear weapons.
his eloquence. After the loss of our Challenger astronauts, President
Reagan consoled a grieving nation. And whether in front of the Berlin
Wall or overlooking the beaches of Normandy, he echoed the democratic
aspirations of freedom-loving people everywhere.
his grace and humor. When Ronald Reagan was Governor of California,
he came to the legislative chamber to deliver the State of the State
Address. And because it was near the time of his birthday, they
wheeled in a birthday cake and sang 'Happy Birthday' to Governor
Reagan. At that time, the Speaker of the Assembly of California
was a giant of a man, Jesse Unruh, who did not always see eye-to-eye
with then-Governor Reagan. So they sang 'Happy Birthday,' Governor
Reagan blew out the candles. Someone said from the seats: 'Governor,
did you make a wish?' And the Governor looked right at Speaker Unruh
and said: 'Yes, I made a wish, but it didn't come true. He's still
end of the day, though, President Reagan knew that whatever may
divide us as a party is dwarfed by what unites us as Americans.
Speaker Tip ONeill famously told of how he and the President
clashed by day, but were friends after six o'clock - prompting the
President to begin his phone calls: 'Tip, is it after six o'clock?'
Ronald Reagan's faith - in his country, in his family, and in his
God. In that poignant letter 10 years ago announcing his battle
with Alzheimer's disease, President Reagan wrote: 'When the Lord
calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest
love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future
I know that for America, there will always be a bright new dawn
remember Ronald Reagan's dignity - the dignity with which he lived
and led our country, and the dignity with which he died, turning
the long good-bye of his final years into a lesson for all of us.
including those of us who serve in the Congress of the United States,
have been touched by the dignity, private strength, and public grace
of Nancy Reagan and the entire Reagan family, to whom we offer our
prayers and deepest condolences. Our nation is in your debt for
the care and love that you gave our President, and for the dignity
with which you held his hands at the end. I hope it is a comfort
to Mrs. Reagan and the Reagan family that the whole world mourns
their loss and is praying for them at this sad time.
"For his eloquent defense of freedom . . . for his leadership
style of conviction and compromise . . . for his eternal optimism
for the future . . . America pays tribute to President Ronald Wilson
bless Ronald Reagan. May God bless this country that he loved and
led. May Ronald Reagan rest in peace."