Monday, April 08, 2013

Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013 ... Ronald Reagan's friend and America's ally

 Margaret Thatcher said goodbye in 2004 to her dear friend Ronald Reagan.

Margaret Thatcher died today. She was 87. It is the passing of an era ... Great Britain has lost a great leader, and the world has lost another of its guardians.

I can just imagine it now, in heaven, the reuniting of three powerful leaders who fought to keep the world safe from harm: Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, and Ronald Reagan.

In my mind is the image of the former British Prime Minister in 2004 at the Capitol of the United States of America after President Ronald Reagan passed away. His flag-draped casket was on view in the rotunda as thousands of citizens filed by to pay their respects. Then Lady Thatcher, not in good health herself, arrived to honor her old friend with these words:
"We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man. And I have lost a dear friend."
It was a special relationship between the leader of America and the leader of Great Britain whose terms overlapped in the 1980s -- her leadership lasting from 1979-90 and his from 1981-89.

They have been called kindred spirits, political soul mates, the dynamic duo. Together they fought the "Cold War," a different kind of terrorism largely unknown to many of today's younger generation, as they stood shoulder-to-shoulder against the Soviet Union. Her leadership and tough demeanor were an inspiration to many young women who later carried those characteristics into politics and the business world.

If her life could be summed up in a nutshell, this is close:
Thatcher was the first — and still only — female prime minister in Britain's history. But she often found feminists tiresome and was not above using her handbag as a prop to underline her swagger and power. A grocer's daughter, she rose to the top of Britain's snobbish hierarchy the hard way, and envisioned a classless society that rewarded hard work and determination.
The Iron Lady, as she was nicknamed, will be honored with a state funeral at St. Paul's Cathedral where she will lie in state in Westminister Hall. It will be the time since former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was her hero, died in 1965 and was honored as hundreds of thousands filed past his casket.

If Ronald Reagan was still alive, he would probably eulogize his dear friend and ally with words very similar to the ones that closed Lady Thatcher's tribute and remembrance of him when he died:
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."
Rest in peace, Lady Thatcher ... and thank you.

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