Ex-president proclaimed a great leader

A crowd of more than 100 gathered in the courtyard of the Snohomish County Courthouse Friday to honor Ronald Reagan, as Americans across the country bid a final farewell to the 40th president.

At the tribute in downtown Everett, construction workers in hard hats stood side-by-side with county employees in business attire, next to parents with arms wrapped in half-hugs across their children’s shoulders.

After a moment of silence, Superior Court Judge David Hulbert recalled attending the Republican convention in 1976 as a starry-eyed college student from Gonzaga University.

“When he was finished with that city-on-a-hill speech, I knew where I was headed in terms of politics,” Hulbert said.

He said Reagan was the 20th century’s greatest political leader, and said it was appropriate that the president passed away the day before the anniversary of D-Day.

“The struggle that was begun by the men he called the boys of Pointe du Hoc really wasn’t completed until the Berlin Wall was brought down,” Hulbert said. “The job they started in 1944 really ended in 1989. And it ended because of Ronald Reagan’s strength and leadership.”

“Ronald Reagan set the example for greatness,” added County Councilman John Koster. “He worked tirelessly throughout his life advancing the cause of freedom.”

Koster said the president brought optimism and hope to the nation.

“He is at peace, safely at home in heaven,” Koster said.

At Naval Station Everett, 10 sailors gathered to fire a 21-gun salute for the former president.

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Shane Thompson was the sailor picked to fire the cannon for the ceremony.

“I felt extremely honored,” said Thompson, who was only in the third grade when Reagan finished his second term.

At the courthouse ceremony, Mike Haney of Marysville said he missed seeing Reagan’s funeral on television Friday morning.

“I didn’t need to get all teary-eyed again,” Haney said, adding that he decided later to drop by the Everett memorial.

“I appreciated the man,” Haney said. “He was good for this country.”

Reporter Brian Kelly: 425-339-3422 or kelly@heraldnet.com.

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