Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell Offer Condolences on Reagan's Death
By Sgt. 1st Class Doug Sample, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2004 President Bush called the news of former President Ronald Reagan's death "a sad hour in the life of America."
"A great American life has come to an end," Bush noted.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell also joined the many offers of condolence.
The former president died of pneumonia June 5 in California. He was 93 and had Alzheimer's disease.
Bush's words came during his trip to Europe to commemorate D-Day celebrations June 5-6. He said he had spoken with former first lady Nancy Reagan and offered the Reagan family his prayers and condolences.
In a White House press statement, the president said the former president had won "America's respect with his greatness, and won its love with his goodness."
"He had the confidence that comes with conviction, the strength that comes with character, the grace that comes with humility, and the humor that comes with wisdom. He leaves behind a nation he restored and a world he helped save."
Recalling Reagan's legacy, President Bush noted the former president helped "lay to rest" an era of "division and self-doubt" in America. And because of the former president's leadership, "the world laid to rest an era of fear and tyranny," he said.
"Now, in laying our leader to rest, we say thank you," he said.
"He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this is true for him too. His work is done, and now a shining city awaits him.
"May God bless Ronald Reagan," he said.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was traveling in southern Asia when Reagan died and issued a statement en route back to the United States.
"President Ronald Reagan's resolve in the defense of freedom helped to change the course of modern history," Rumsfeld said.
"Among his many legacies, he restored America's pride in the men and women who wear the military uniform. This modest man of good humor had the conviction and personal courage to provide our nation and the free world with directional leadership at a time when it was so sorely needed.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and the Reagan family," Rumsfeld stated.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, also traveling abroad, said he was "deeply saddened" to learn of the death of former president.
"President Reagan fueled the spirit of America. His smile, his optimism, his total belief in the ultimate triumph of democracy and freedom, and his willingness to act on that belief, helped end the Cold War and usher in a new and brighter phase of history."
Powell said he was "privileged" to serve as Reagan's national security adviser and that he was "proud to be a soldier" during his presidency. He said that Reagan "restored the morale and fighting prowess of our armed forces."
"The world and his fellow Americans will forever be in his debt. He was one of a kind, an American original," Powell said.