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Inside Politics

Bush calls national day of mourning

Services will take place on both coasts and span five days


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Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II shared battles.

Mikhail Gorbachev and Reagan: Cold War foes who came together.

Reagan's body will lie in state in Washington.
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Ronald Wilson Reagan
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What will Ronald Reagan be most remembered for?
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REAGAN'S LIFE AND TIMES
Birth: February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois

Married: Jane Wyman 1940-1948, Nancy Davis in 1952

Education: Graduates from Eureka College, Illinois, in 1932

1932-1966: Sports announcer, motion picture and TV actor

1947-1952: President of Screen Actors Guild

1962: Campaigns for Richard Nixon, GOP gubernatorial candidate in California

1967-1974: Governor of California

1976: Loses Republican primary to Gerald Ford

1980: Elected 40th president, beating Jimmy Carter

March 30, 1981: Assassination attempt

January 11, 1989: Farewell address to the nation

1994: Announces he has Alzheimer's disease

May 16, 2002: Ronald and Nancy Reagan awarded Congressional
Gold Medal

SIMI VALLEY, California (CNN) -- The nation is preparing to honor former President Ronald Reagan with funeral arrangements being made on both the East and West coasts.

The 40th president of the United States died Saturday at 93 at his home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles after a decade-long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

President Bush ordered flags lowered to half-staff for 30 days Sunday and called a national day of mourning for Friday, when a state funeral for Reagan is scheduled in Washington.

Federal departments and agencies will close for the day, except those dealing with national security or essential services, under Bush's executive order.

The state funeral will be preceded by five days of mourning beginning Monday with a private family service at the the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. (Full story)

Afterward, the body will lie in repose at the library for public visitation throughout the night and Tuesday until 6 p.m.

The body will be flown to Washington on Wednesday, where it will lie in state in the Rotunda of the Capitol for public viewing through the night and all day Thursday.

On Friday morning, Reagan's body will be taken by motorcade through Washington to the National Cathedral for funeral services expected to be attended by numerous heads of state, some of whom will be in the country for the G-8 economic summit earlier in the week on Sea Island, Georgia.

Bush will deliver the principal eulogy, but it is unclear who else will speak.

That afternoon the body will be returned to California for a private funeral and burial at the library planned for sunset.

The Department of Homeland Security designated Friday's funeral -- the first state funeral in Washington in more than 30 years -- as a special security event, putting the Secret Service in charge of overseeing security.

Tributes to Reagan

Reagan was remembered Sunday as a communicator, a peacemaker and a champion of conservative politics.

His office said he died of pneumonia, described as a complication of Alzheimer's disease, a condition he made public in a stirring letter in 1994.

His wife of 52 years, Nancy Davis Reagan, and their two children, Ron Reagan and Patti Davis, were with him when he passed away.

Throughout the day Sunday, mourners brought flowers, signs and other mementos to sites associated with Reagan, including his library in Simi Valley, the funeral home in Santa Monica where his body was being prepared and the family home in Bel Air.

Some mourners even brought jellybeans, the candy forever associated with Reagan because he kept a jar on his desk in the Oval Office.

People also gathered at several sites in Reagan's native Illinois, including his birthplace in Tampico, his boyhood home in Dixon and at Eureka College, where Reagan graduated in 1932.

"I'm glad that he didn't have to suffer anymore," said Bill Thompson, a friend of Reagan from his Dixon days. "I realize that it's a hard thing to lose a president, and it's even worse to lose a friend."

Among the signs left at the funeral home were "God Bless the Gipper" and "Mr. President, Thank You for Setting Lithuania Free," the latter a reference to Reagan's leadership during the Cold War in the battle against Communist oppression in Eastern Europe.

Sunday evening, a group of about 30 people gathered across the street from the White House for a candlelight vigil, where they waved American flags and took turns sharing their memories of Reagan.

Bush paid tribute to Reagan during his address Sunday at the U.S. military cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy, France, to honor the heroes of World War II on the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

"He was a courageous man himself, and a gallant leader in the cause of freedom and today we honor the memory of Ronald Reagan," Bush said. (D-Day heroics honored)

Reagan's "Pointe du Hoc speech," delivered at Normandy on D-Day's 40th anniversary in 1984, was among his most famous.

Among others paying tribute to Reagan was former President Jimmy Carter, who was defeated for re-election by Reagan in 1980.

"President Reagan was a formidable political campaigner, who provided an inspirational voice to America when our people were searching for a clear message of hope and confidence," Carter said in a statement. (More reaction)

British Prime Minister Tony Blair credited Reagan with influencing U.S. politics and ending a global power struggle with the Soviet Union.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, underscored the importance of summits he held with Reagan on nuclear arms issues.

"I deem Ronald Reagan a great president, with whom the Soviet leadership was able to launch a very difficult but important dialogue." (More world reaction)

Nancy Reagan -- in a Time magazine article -- described her late husband as an eternal optimist.

"I think they broke the mold when they made Ronnie," the former first lady wrote. "He was a man of strong principles and integrity. He had absolutely no ego, and he was very comfortable in his own skin; therefore, he didn't feel he ever had to prove anything to anyone." (Reagan obituary)


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