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Inside Politics

Americans line up to pay respect to Reagan

Washington security prepares for funeral


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Nancy Reagan briefly places her cheek on her husband's casket.
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The Reagan family views the casket Monday at the Reagan Library.

Ronald Reagan's casket arrives at the presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

The humor of Ronald Reagan shone through his presidency.
REAGAN MEMORIALS PLAN
Today: Ronald Reagan's body is moved to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California where it will lie in repose through the night

Tuesday: The library is open for the public to pay respects, the casket on view

Wednesday: The casket is moved from the library at 8 a.m. PT (11 a.m. ET) to Naval Base Ventura County for transport to Washington; at 6 p.m. ET, a procession moves the body to the Capitol Rotunda where it will lie in state for visitation overnight

Thursday: The body lies in state at the Capitol for visitation all day

Friday: The body is moved to Washington National Cathedral for a state funeral service, then is flown back to California for a 6:15 p.m. PT (9:15 p.m. ET) private funeral, followed by burial at the Reagan Library
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SIMI VALLEY, California (CNN) -- Thousands of Americans are expected to pay their respects Tuesday to Ronald Reagan, the nation's 40th president, one day after his family emerged from seclusion to attend a brief prayer service.

The former two-term president died at age 93 Saturday at his home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

His admirers waited in long lines Monday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as former first lady Nancy Reagan caressed her husband's flag-draped casket.

Clad in a black suit and white pearls, Mrs. Reagan rested her cheek briefly on the casket, a poignant gesture to her husband of 52 years. Her daughter, Patti Davis, who once had a tumultuous relationship with her parents, then held her in a long embrace.

The family then departed, giving the public a chance to say goodbye.

During the next five hours, 9,277 people slowly walked around three sides of the coffin, which sat on a black bier with a member of each branch of the armed services standing at its four corners.

After the public viewing at the library ends Tuesday at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. ET), Reagan's casket will be flown Wednesday to Washington, where it will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda until the state funeral Friday, which will be a national day of mourning.

The Department of Homeland Security has designated all the activities in California and Washington related to Reagan's memorial a special security event, which puts the Secret Service in charge of overseeing precautions.

Measures deployed at other such events have included sharpshooters, bomb-sniffing dogs and undercover police roaming the crowds. (Full story)

Mourning and memories

Among the first to pay their tributes at the presidential library were California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver. The couple stood in silent prayer before the casket.

Others gave voice to their admiration for Reagan, a conservative lion whose genial personality often transcended partisan politics.

"I've been a Reagan supporter since the age of 12," said one woman at the library. "I went to visit his governor's mansion ... I ate his jelly beans, and I've been a fan ever since. He's the first president I voted for and the best president we've ever had."

Reagan's final journey began at a Santa Monica funeral home, where the family gathered to escort the casket to the library.

Holding hands with her daughter and son, Ron Reagan, Mrs. Reagan stopped outside the funeral home to view the mounds of mementos left by well-wishers. Appearing weary, frail but composed, Mrs. Reagan waved to supporters.

Other members of the family, including Michael Reagan, the son of Reagan and his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, also escorted Reagan's body to the library. Honorary pallbearers, including former talk show host Merv Griffin, joined the family.

As the motorcade traveled to the library, drivers of cars traveling in the opposite direction stopped out of respect, while others parked on overpasses.

As they did over the weekend, fond remembrances poured forth for the one-time movie actor and governor of California.

"You can agree or disagree with Ronald Reagan's policies, his conservatism," said former presidential adviser David Gergen.

"I was less conservative than he was, but if you add it all up, I believe he ranked as the best leader we've had in the White House since Franklin Roosevelt, and that's saying a lot." (Casting a wide shadow in politics)

State funeral

The funeral proceedings for Reagan will be elaborate and carefully orchestrated, unfolding on both coasts of the United States. (Plans for official ceremonies)

Dignitaries from around the world, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, are expected to attend. (Gorbachev praises a 'great president')

After the body arrives Wednesday evening in Washington, Reagan will receive full military honors, including a caisson to carry his coffin to the Capitol, accompanied by the "riderless horse" to symbolize a fallen leader, and several military gun salutes.

After Friday's state funeral -- the first in more than 30 years -- the body will be returned to Reagan's adopted home state of California, where he will be interred at his presidential library.

The decision was made by Nancy and Ronald Reagan more than a decade ago as the library was under construction.

Reagan will be the 10th former president to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, and the first since Lyndon Johnson in 1973.

The only other former president to die during that time, Richard Nixon, was buried in California in 1994 after his family declined Washington commemorations.

Affection for the 'Gipper'

Ordinary Americans left gestures of their affection for the man dubbed the "Gipper" -- for one of his most popular movie characters -- at various places.

Notes, balloons, flags and flowers were also left at the funeral home, the library, the family home in Bel Air, his birthplace in Tampico, Illinois, his boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois, Eureka College in Illinois, where he graduated in 1932, and the White House.

The New York Stock Exchange and most government offices will be closed Friday. Only those government offices necessary for national security will remain open.

President Bush, who is to speak at Reagan's funeral, ordered flags lowered to half-staff for 30 days Sunday.

Bush issued a proclamation saluting Reagan's "unshakable faith in the values of our country and the character of our people."

"Ronald Reagan renewed America's confidence and restored our nation. His optimism, strength and humility epitomized the American spirit," Bush said. "He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come."


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