Peggy Noonan is not well known in this country, but to anyone who's ever written a political speech, she's a legend. She crafted Ronald Reagan's words throughout much of his Presidency. It was she who wrote the tribute to those who died on the Space Shuttle - "the surly bonds of earth". It was she who wrote Reagan's moving tribute to the Normandy veterans at Pointe du Hoc in 1984. Her memoirs WHAT I SAW AT THE REVOLUTION remain in my top ten political books of all time. She understood Reagan like few others, and it was for that reason that she was able to write such beautifully crafted speeches. However, anyone who has read his diaries knows that he put his all into their creation as well. He didn't just deliver them brilliantly, he played a huge part in the writing of them.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I have just read an article for the WEEKLY STANDARD which Peggy Noonan wrote just after Reagan's funeral in June 2004. I defy any Conservative to read it without having moist eyes by the end of it. Here's a short excerpt...
When I'm in America the week after next I hope to meet Peggy and interview her on camera about her life working in the White House. If it comes off, it will be the highlight of my trip. Do read the aricle in full HERE.
Walking into a room in the Capitol Wednesday before dusk: A handful of people
were standing together and gazing out a huge old white-silled window as the
Reagan cortege approached down Pennsylvania Avenue. The sun was strong, like a
presence. It bathed the women in glow. One was standing straight, with
discipline. Her beige bouffant was brilliant in the sun. I approached, and she
turned. It was Margaret Thatcher. It was like walking into a room at FDR's
funeral and seeing Churchill.
The cortege was coming toward the steps. We looked out the window: a perfect
tableaux of ceremonial excellence from every branch of the armed forces. Mrs.
Thatcher watched. She turned and said to me, "This is the thing, you see, you
must stay militarily strong, with an undeniable strength. The importance of this
cannot be exaggerated." To my son, whose 17th birthday was the next day, she
said, "And what do you study?" He tells her he loves history and literature.
"Mathematics," she says. He nods, wondering, I think, if she had heard him
correctly. She had. She was giving him advice. "In the world of the future it
will be mathematics that we need--the hard, specific knowledge of mathematical
formulae, you see." My son nodded: "Yes, ma'am." Later I squeezed his arm. "Take
notes," I said. This is history.