Americans are a bunch of self-absorbed, lazy, do nothings who don't care about anyone but themselves... and not even themselves collectively. No. They're concerned about numero uno and that's it. Or that's the perception in a lot of the world. Right or wrong, the last two and a half generations of Americans have been all about the "me". Why then, with this unending obsession with ourselves are we as a nation so engrossed with the death of a President that has been out of office for more than 15 years and out of the public eye, privately battling Alzheimer's for the last 10 years?
Simple. 9/11 provided the same thing that citizens of this nation so desperately want. The feeling of being a part of something that is larger than themselves. The 90's and the first few years of 21st century have seen an unprecedented rise in volunteerism. 9/11 saw an unprecedented outpouring of sympathy and support. And now Reagan's death has prompted over 100,000 Americans to journey to Washington DC or California to pay their respects. It isn't out of duty, or obligation that they do this. They are just dying to be a part of something they feel is larger than them.
As a nation, we should be ashamed that we are so unable to find meaning in our everyday existence that an outpouring of emotion of this magnitude at one time seems such a foreign event.