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Bush Recalls Reagan’s Convictions, Decency

June 11, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush eulogized Ronald Reagan on Friday as a man of deep and certain convictions who carried himself in the highest office ``with a decency and attention to small kindnesses that also defined a good life.″

Summing up the power of the Reagan presidency, Bush said the fallen president believed that ``America was not just a place in the world but the hope of the world.″

Speaking at Reagan’s funeral in the National Cathedral, Bush said Reagan’s convictions ``were always politely stated, affably argued and as firm and straight as the columns of this cathedral.″

``Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now,″ Bush said, ``but we preferred it when he belonged to us.″

The president, like his father who spoke before him, told a few personal stories from Reagan’s career that brought smiles to the grieving family. Recalling the time fellow actor Robert Cummings first suggested to Reagan that he might run for president, Bush said Reagan quipped, ``What’s the matter, don’t you like my acting either?″

``Ronald Reagan believed that everything happens for a reason and that we should strive to know and do the will of God,″ Bush said. ``He believed that the gentleman always does the kindest thing. He believed that people are basically good and have the right to be free.

``He believed that bigotry and prejudice were the worst things a person could be guilty of. He believed in the golden rule and the power of prayer,″ Bush said.

Bush said Reagan’s values were formed during his childhood in Dixon, Ill., the kind of town where neighbors not only knew each other, but played and prayed together.

When he became president, Bush said, those values ``began to shape the times″ and the result was ``one of the decisive decades of a century.″

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