Grave Tales – Ronald Reagan

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One of the most popular and famous American presidents of modern times is buried in an elaborate memorial site in California.

Republican Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, died on June 5, 2004. He had been battling Alzheimer’s for more than a decade. He was 93 when he died, making him the longest-lived US president in history at the time of his death, a record which was surpassed by Gerald Ford on November 12, 2006.

Following his death, a seven-day state funeral followed.

The former film star’s body was first taken from his home in Bel Air to a funeral home in Santa Monica, California. His coffin was then displayed in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
It was carried by a military guard of honour representing all branches of the US Armed Forces into the library.
It is believed around 108,000 people visited the library to file past his casket.

After this it was flown to Washington DC for a service, public viewing and tributes.

His body lay in state for 34 hours in the Capitol building’s rotunda before a state funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral. Around 4,000 people gathered at the cathedral for the funeral including many past presidents and foreign dignitaries from around the world including former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the then Prince of Wales Prince Charles and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie. Mrs Thatcher also delivered the first eulogy. It had been been pre-recorded several months earlier as she herself was struggling with her health at the time.

Following this, his coffin was taken back to California for interment at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

Here the burial service took place, which included 700 guests, including Margaret Thatcher, the then governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, Reagan’s wife Nancy and his former wife actress Jane Wyman, actors Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Mickey Rooney, Bo Derek, Tom Selleck and the Sinatra family.

The three surviving Reagan children Michael, Patti and Ron gave eulogies.

The coffin was lowered into the vault of the horseshoe-shaped monument and is inscribed with a quote Ronald Reagan delivered in 1991.

It says: “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

When Nancy Reagan died in 2016, she was buried next to her late husband.