A national intrusion into a private moment

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The death of Ronald Reagan is a topic that has been written about so much over the past two weeks. America watched the "journey" together, from his death announcement to him being put in his final resting place in California. And we watched the speeches, given by family members and government dignitaries alike, that praised the former president's politics, sense of humor and, most of all, his devotion to his wife of more than 50 years, Nancy.

Nancy, the woman who sat by her husband for 10 years, never faltering in her support of him. Nancy, the one who cried and kissed the casket that fateful Friday evening, whispering a tearful goodbye to her husband. America watched it. Watched her crying at the casket, watched her children consoling her, watched her being taken away. That bothers me. We shouldn't have watched.

Ronald Reagan was the 40th president of the United States of America. He was beloved, he was adored, he was also feared yet respected. This man held, for eight years, the world in his hand. Yet he was still human.

I admit, I watched the services held for him all of that week, but I'm not proud to say I watched the end of the journey. I would have turned it off, but my eye saw something and I just couldn't flip the TV back to "Law and Order."

What fascinated me the most about the final services was the cameras. The channel that I was watching scanned the area while Nancy was crying over the casket, and along one brick garden wall beside the casket were cameras. Not just cameras but huge cameras, with microphones attached.

This was a private moment, a moment for the Reagan family to grieve over their husband, father and grandfather. The rest of the world had already said their goodbyes to the leader. Why did we have to see the family services? Does anyone have an answer for me?

Emily Hendricks is a student at Central High School in Cape Girardeau.

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