Flight of Three Presidents

Old animosities fall away on a historic mission of mourning

There had been nothing quite like it in American history: three former Presidents sharing the cabin of an Air Force jet as they flew to the funeral of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Cairo. From talks with many of the dignitaries aboard the plane, TIME'S Washington Contributing Editor Hugh Sidey put together the following account of their extraordinary mission of mourning.

By mid-afternoon on the day of Sadat's assassination, White House aides had decided that Ronald Reagan could not risk attending the services. The...

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