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Nation Says Farewell to Former US President Reagan - 2004-06-11

The body of former President Ronald Reagan was interred in a ceremony at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Earlier, President Bush and world dignitaries honored Mr. Reagan at a state funeral in Washington. Mourners lined the route as the former president was taken to his final resting place.

They came to bid a final farewell to man they loved and respected, and to honor his widow.

"I'm just here out of respect for Nancy, as well as, of course, all that President Reagan did for us as a country," said one mourner. "And also having lived here when he was governor, I just want to show my respect to the family and to President Reagan."

At a Los Angeles senior center, another man has followed Friday's events on television, from the majestic Washington funeral to the solemn interment in Simi Valley. He spoke of his reactions when he learned of the former president's passing after a 10-year battle with Alzhaimer's disease.

"I was sad. And yet I was glad," said another mourner. "He goes to the ages, and he goes in this way, that everybody realizes the greatness of the moment at which he was president of this country."

At the interment ceremony, Captain Jim Symonds, commander of the newest U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, was scheduled to present Mrs. Reagan with the flag from his ship. The flag flew last Saturday, the day Mr. Reagan died. The naval officer says he has considered Mr. Reagan a hero from the day he first took office.

"He had a significant impact on all of us in the armed forces at that time, and so to just be a very small part of his passing and his legacy is very important to me," he said.

Thousands are expected to visit the Reagan burial site at the Reagan Library when it reopens Monday morning.