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California Bids Farewell to President Reagan - 2004-06-09

The body of former President Ronald Reagan is being flown to Washington, where it will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda beginning Wednesday evening. Mr. Reagan died Saturday at the age of 93. Mr. Reagan's family members are accompanying the remains for honors and a state funeral in Washington.

A Marine Corps band played Hail to the Chief, as service members carried the former president's casket from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to a waiting hearse, which took it to a nearby naval air station.

Mr. Reagan's body will arrive at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington aboard a presidential Boeing 747. A funeral procession to the Capitol will begin near the White House about 6 o'clock Wednesday evening. After a state funeral ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, the body will lie in state there through Friday morning.

A funeral service Friday at the National Cathedral will draw world dignitaries. President Bush is among those scheduled to speak. The body will then be flown back to California for interment at the Reagan library Friday evening.

As the hearse reached the California air base Wednesday morning, large artillery pieces sounded a 21-gun salute, and a military band played Mr. Reagan's favorite hymn, Amazing Grace.

The same 21-gun salute will be repeated in Washington when the casket arrives at the Capitol Wednesday evening. Military bases around the United States will conduct the salute at noon on Friday.

At least 100,000 people paid respects to the former president Monday and Tuesday in California. More will do the same in Washington.

Some at the Reagan library waited many hours to view the flag-draped casket. A family spokeswoman says Mrs. Reagan called the "outpouring of love" for the former president "incredible."