Friday, June 11, 2004

666 St. Cloud Rd.

All kidding aside, I was very touched by Reagan's funeral. I watched on CSPAN, which showed more or less continuous coverage without any commentary at all. I'd been watching the coffin lying in state in the Capital Rotunda as video wallpaper for two days, and that was very soothing, just to see the quiet rhythym of the changing of the honor guard and the steady flow of people into view it wearing everything from dress uniforms to Led Zeppelin t-shirts and shorts. (Funny way of showing your respect, but it was 90 degrees outside). We missed the DC funeral, which I'm told was full of a lot of hot air, but caught the continuous live coverage of the plane landing with his coffin, the cortege, and the whole funeral.

The Reagan library is very tastefully done, in California adobe style and in a beautiful setting. The timing of the whole thing was really lovely, ending just at sunset. And I wouldn't mind having a brass band play hymns and a few pop standards at my funeral: it sounded great. I loved the eulogies (except for the one at the interment by Reagan's pastor, which seemed to endorse Reagan over Nelson Mandela as the icon of white South Africans, but we'll skip over that bizarre moment). Nancy seemed to have lost the adoring gaze and had a more contemplative, nearly stoic 1000-yard stare at the coffin. The steady flow of the changing of the honor guard and the pulse of the music in the background was very trancelike.

I always think funerals are for the living, and this funeral made me feel better about Reagan and introspective about my own life. There's no irony here: I just like a well-thought-out funeral, and this was one of them. Let others debate the over-eulogizing and weird memorialization and questionable legacy.

Rest in peace.