Saying Goodbye to Ronald Reagan
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RAY SUAREZ: Former First Lady Nancy Reagan paused as she arrived at a Santa Monica funeral home this morning with her children, Patti and Ron. She read several of the notes well-wishers had placed as part of an impromptu shrine that blossomed soon after Ronald Reagan’s death on Saturday at age 93.
Also mixed among the flowers, flags, and stuffed animals were jars of jelly beans, like those the president always kept on the desks of the Oval Office and White House cabinet room. At mid-morning, the flag-draped casket carrying the former president’s body was placed inside a hearse by military honor guard. Mrs. Reagan acknowledged the applause and cheers from a nearby crowd with a slight wave and then entered a limousine for the one-hour, 40-mile trip north to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. (Playing “Hail to the Chief”)
As a military band played “Hail to the Chief,” the casket was lifted from the hearse and carried into the presidential library. (Playing “Hail to the Chief”) the Reverend Michael Wenning, the family pastor, conducted a brief, simple ceremony attended only by the Reagan family and a few friends.
REV. MICHAEL WENNING: Eternal and Almighty God, as we have begun this day to honor the life of your servant, Ronald Reagan, I would pray especially for his dear family. I pray, oh Lord God, that you would give them an extra strength, a sense of your peace and your comfort, through the many greetings and the many miles which they must travel from one coast to our nation’s capital, I pray, oh Lord God, that would grant them sleep at night, a refreshing of tired bodies and weary spirits. May they be rejuvenated each day and greeted knowing that you are their strength, their Lord, and their righteousness.
RAY SUAREZ: Afterward, Mrs. Reagan approached the casket.
RAY SUAREZ: The body of former President Reagan will lie in repose here at the presidential library through tomorrow evening, giving Californians a chance to pay their final respects to the former two-term governor. Current Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife Maria Shriver were among the first to arrive this afternoon.
On Wednesday, the casket will be flown to Andrews Air Force base outside Washington. A formal funeral procession will the rotunda of the United States capitol, followed by a ceremony attended by the Reagan family, heads of state, and members of Congress. There the body will lie in state until Friday morning, when it will be taken to Washington’s National Cathedral for the national funeral. Former President Bush will deliver the eulogy. The body then will be flown back to the presidential library in California, where the former president will be laid to rest during a private burial service attended by family and friends.