Mrs. Reagan had a bit of a one-minute masterpiece. Her face said it all. It was her first time in the Rotunda since her husband lay in state. History had come to endorse what she and her husband’s supporters long thought: that he was great. “The statue is a wonderful likeness of Ronnie, and he would be so proud.” And at the end she said, simply, “That’s it,” and the crowd erupted in applause. She turned, helped pull the big blue drop cloth down, and there he was. That was his posture, that was the way he held his arms as he walked, that was the two button suit. The Gipper will be the only statue in the rotunda that is smiling. (In Statuary Hall, Will Rogers bears a look of wry amusement.)
Mrs. Reagan looked up at the statue, leaned forward, patted the right knee, and wiped her eyes.