One of the great tragedies of Margaret Thatcher’s passing is that Ronald Reagan is not here to eulogize her. Of all the tributes we will hear in the coming days, none will match what Reagan would have said about his dear friend and steadfast ally at 10 Downing Street.
Fortunately, Lady Thatcher was with us to pay tribute to the life of her friend Ronald Reagan when he passed in 2004. The Iron Lady was already too frail to deliver her remarks in person, but she watched from the audience in the National Cathedral as her recorded eulogy was played. She declared:
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…. 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 and unyielding…
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 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.
Were Ronald Reagan with us today, I suspect he would say precisely the same about Margaret Thatcher.
You can watch the full video of Thatcher’s eulogy here: