Special Moments

Nelson Mandela

In June, 1990 Nelson Mandela made his first visit to The United States after his release from 27 years in a South Africa prison. The organizing committee enlisted Scarbrough to help facilitate Mandela’s three day visit to Washington, D.C. She coordinated and accompanied Nelson and then wife Winnie Mandela to their appointments on Capitol Hill, the State Department and the White House where the human rights leader met with President George H.W. Bush. “My interactions with Nelson Mandela revealed a kind, compassionate and very humble man. What an honor it was to be there to witness his first moments in America.”

President Ronald Reagan

For the June 2004 Washington, D.C. State Funeral of President Ronald Reagan, Scarbrough served as Deputy Lead. More than 4,000 people attended the funeral, held at The Washington National Cathedral. It was the largest funeral held in the United States since that of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Crowds lined the route of the cortege as the hearse made its way.

“President Reagan was such an inspiration and influential person in my early adulthood. His honor, dignity, values and world view informed so much of my later career and overall outlook about life. To be able to honor him as a coordinator of his funeral was one of the best ways I knew to say “Thank You” to him.

Watching the crowds gathered on the side of the road from inside the motorcade allowed me a unique and so very personal view of the respect many people in our nation had for this extraordinary man. An elderly man wearing a uniform with badges from a long ago war, stood and saluted as the hearse passed. This, in and of itself, was not especially unusual, but then that I noticed that he had raised himself up out of his wheelchair to pay his respects. It was President Reagan who would have saluted this soldier.”

Guests included President and Mrs. Bush, former presidents George H.W and Barbara Bush, Gerald and Betty Ford, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Dignitaries present included 36 past and present heads of state and government, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Leading the dignitaries were Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Princes Charles, Tony Blair, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Lech Walesa of Poland. Most poignantly to me, all the staff and volunteers who treasured their personal memories working for Ronald Reagan came together one last time to lay their boss to rest.