As we filed off the bus we were warmly greeted by the library staff. They directed us around a large courtyard and I quickly found myself entering the room where President Reagan lay in repose. The room held an intensely powerful silent energy that quickly washed away any thoughts of the waiting. The flag draped casket, like the man, seemed larger than it could have been.
From beneath the flag peaked and impossibly perfect, deeply rich red mahogany that seemed to glow. The five man honor guard (Air Force, Army, Coast-Guard, Marine and Navy) watched over President Reagan with a professional intensity that sent chills down my spine. They were absolutely motionless.
Just as quickly I was back on the shuttle and headed home. The return trip was respectfully quiet and over almost too soon. I wanted a few more moments of the sense of community that developed overnight. By 7:00 I was walking in my front door.
I will always be grateful to President Reagan for returning pride in and hope for America to Americans. I will always be grateful for this opportunity to spend a few moments thanking him in person.