SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com/AP) — Funeral arrangements were held Friday morning for former First Lady Nancy Reagan in Simi Valley.
At 11 a.m., Nancy was buried beside her “Ronnie” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum they loved, after being mourned and celebrated by family and hundreds of friends from Hollywood, Washington and beyond in private service.
A tent was built over the site of the service in case thunderstorms and wind interrupted the procession. Heavy rains didn’t come until long after the ceremony had ended.
The sprawling, Spanish Mission-style library is located between the Reagan’s post-White House home in the upscale Bel Air section of Los Angeles and Rancho del Cielo, the “ranch in the sky” where the Reagans spent their leisure time, sometimes on horseback, in the rugged mountains near Santa Barbara. The library site provides sweeping views of horse country dotted with oaks and, on a clear day, a vista to the Pacific.
The guest list for the funeral tells a story about their lives, which stretched from Hollywood’s Golden Age to the California statehouse during Reagan’s time as governor to the Washington Beltway. Four of the five living first ladies and relatives of every president dating to John Kennedy attended.
It will bring together Democrat and Republican, an unusual tableau at a time of deep division in Washington and the 2016 campaign trail. Hillary Clinton took a break from the presidential campaign to attend, and other politicians on the list cover the political spectrum, from Newt Gingrich to Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Reagan’s two children, Patti Davis and Ronald Prescott Reagan, were among the speakers at the funeral, which will include choirs and a Marine Corps band.
Nancy and Ron’s children, in fact, gave touching, poignant and vivid eulogies of their mother. Both touched on the fact Mrs. Reagan could be famously difficult.
“I tried her patience and she intimidated me,” Patti said. She then said she wanted to reflect on the happiest times of their relationship.
Ron Jr., also, jokingly talked about his mother and her stern reputation and said she was at peace being reunited with his father.
“She will once again lay down beside the man, the love of her life, she loved to the end of her days. They will watch the sun drop over the hills towards the sea, they will look out across the valley, and my father will tell her the lights below our her jewels. And here they’ll stay as they always wished it to be, resting in each other’s arms until the end of time.”
James A. Baker, who served in the Reagan administration, and former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw also spoke during the ceremony officiated by the Rev. Stuart Kenworthy, vicar of Washington National Cathedral.
On Wednesday and Thursday at the library, lines of mourners and Reagan faithful filed slowly past the former first lady’s closed casket, blanketed with white roses and peonies, Mrs. Reagan’s favorite flower.
Tears often fell. The crowd, many in graying years, spoke to an era closed, a time of “morning again in America” and the Reagan doctrine intended to weaken Soviet influence during the Cold War.
Reagan left the presidency after eight years, on January 20, 1989.
Mrs. Reagan, who died Sunday at 94, planned the smallest details of her funeral. She selected the funeral’s flower arrangements, the music to be played by a Marine Corps band and the list of guests invited to the private memorial. The band played her favorite song, “God Bless America,” in tribute.
She also had the band played Ronald Reagan’s favorite song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
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