I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for that beautiful film, and a special thanks for the people who were involved with putting it together and seeing it came on. It reminded me again of how grateful Ronnie and I are for the privilege that you and America gave us for the wonderful eight years in the White House.
It also reminded me of the life that you gave us before that starting with the governorship of California. A life that we never thought we'd have. It was interesting. It was challenging. It was fascinating. It was sometimes frightening. There were times when it seemed that the sun forgot to shine. But those days have dimmed in comparison to the accomplishments that now glow brightly and the remembrance of the warmth and support from so many of you across America.
Just four years ago, Ronnie stood before you and spoke for what he said might be his last speech at a Republican convention. Sadly, his words were too prophetic. When we learned of his illness, Alzheimer's, he made the decision to write his letter to the American people, and the people responded as they always do. I can't tell you what your cards and letters have meant to both of us. The love and affection from thousands of Americans has been and continues to be a strengthening force for Ronnie and me each and every day.
We have learned as too many other families have learned of the terrible pain and loneliness that must be endured as each day brings another reminder of this very long goodbye.
But Ronnie's spirit, his optimism, his never failing belief in the strength and goodness of America is still very strong. If he were able to be here tonight, he would once again remind us of the power of each individual, urging us once again to fly as high as our wings will take us and to never give up on America.
I can tell you with certainty that he still sees the shining city on the hill, a place of full of hope and promise for us all.
As you all know, I am not the speechmaker in the family, so let me close with Ronnie's words, not mine. In that last speech four years ago, he said, "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone, I hope it will report that I appeal to your best hopes not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts, and may all of you as Americans never forget your heroic origins, never fail to seek divine guidance, and never, never lose your natural, god-given optimism."
Ronnie's optimism, like America's, still shines very brightly. May God bless him, and from both of us, God bless America.
Copyright 1996 by Nancy Reagan. All rights reserved. Speech provided by courtesy of the Republican National Committee.
Speech from http://gos.sbc.edu/r/reagan2.html.