Flags in Britain fly at half staff as the world learns of the passing of former Primer Minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday. In ill health for a number of years she passed away at 87 years old after suffering yet another stroke. There will be much written and said about her in the days to come and I'll be following the news with a personal interest. And it's that personal standpoint that I would like to begin my own reflections.
I first saw Margaret Thatcher in person at the White House on her final State Visit to the United States during the closing days of the Reagan Administration in 1988. The chemistry between the two leaders was palpable as captured in this photograph I took during the Welcome Ceremony for her State Visit on the White House Lawn. Full story of that event is here.
Welcoming Ceremony for the State Visit of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
on the South Lawn of the White House, November 16, 1988.
Photo by Mike's America. Full story here.
Thatcher and Reagan in office simultaneously was one of those happy accidents of history. Years before they were in office they met and began a correspondence that showed how much in sync they were (see full size image of the letter at right).
Both were so in tune with each other that their partnership helped change the world and usher in an era of peace and prosperity that few thought possible. A world gripped by fear of a Cold War turning hot with a nuclear apocalypse was freed of that fear by these towering, visionary leaders. The train of economic growth they put on the tracks lasted into the 21st Century until liberals finally managed to derail it.
Seeing the Iron Lady in London
Twelve years later I would see Margaret Thatcher again in London. This time I was walking through her neighborhood in Belgrave Square (map). All of a sudden a motorcadepulled up and out she popped bouncing up the steps of her townhouse with husband Dennis following. Before her strokes and the loss of Dennis she still had every ounce of the energy we had seen throughout her years of public life.
In 2004 her presence at the funeral of President Reagan was a reminder of her devotion to her friend, and ideological soulmate. Her eulogy to Reagan at his funeral was much appreciated by a grieving nation.
|Margaret Thatcher touches the flag covering the coffin containing |
the remains of President Ronald Reagan as he lay in state
in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington DC June 2004
- Daughter Carol Thatcher's remembrances of her mother as Prime Minister at Chequers, the weekend country retreat for Prime Ministers.
- The Guardian newspaper has a photo biography.
READER CHALLENGE: Share Your Favorite Thatcher Moments
Got a favorite Thatcher moment? Share it. Here's the You Tube link for Thatcher videos or just write about your memory of this great woman.