Accessibility links

Breaking News

Thousands Pay Final Respects to Nancy Reagan

A woman cries after viewing the casket of Nancy Reagan at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, March 10, 2016, in Simi Valley, California.

Mourners filed quietly past the casket of former first lady Nancy Reagan on Thursday for a second day at her husband's presidential library in
Southern California ahead of a funeral to be attended by current
first lady Michelle Obama.

Reagan's flower-bedecked, dark wood casket stood on a blue carpet, surrounded by an honor guard in an entrance hall of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, north of Los Angeles, as members of the public paid final their respects.

"It was very emotional. It was a beautiful time gone by and I think she's kind of the last of all of that," said Kathy Sprinkel, 56, who works nearby.

Mourners walked past a bronze statue of Ronald Regan and two 12-foot-tall portraits of the former first lady, dressed in a floor-length red gown, before entering the room where she lie in repose.

President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy kiss on their wedding anniversary in the White House March 4 1985.
President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy kiss on their wedding anniversary in the White House March 4 1985.

More than 3,100 members attended the first day of public visitation on Wednesday, library spokeswoman Melissa Giller said. Another 2,000 people were expected by the end of the day on Thursday.

Private funeral services have been scheduled for Friday and the White House has said that Michelle Obama would attend.

Nancy Reagan, a one-time actress who was fiercely protective of her husband throughout his Hollywood career, eight years in the White House, an assassination attempt and his struggle with Alzheimer's disease, died on Sunday at age 94.

She was one of the most influential first ladies in U.S. history during her Republican husband's presidency from 1981 to 1989.

Ronald Reagan died in 2004 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's, the progressive brain disorder that destroys memory.

President Obama, a Democrat, and his wife, Michelle, have said Nancy Reagan redefined the role of first lady.