Death and state funeral of Ronald Reagan

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The casket bearing the body of former President Ronald Reagan lies in state in the United States Capitol Rotunda

On June 5, 2004, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, died after having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for almost 10 years. A seven-day state funeral for Reagan was held shortly after his death.[1]

Post-death[change | edit source]

After Reagan's death his body was taken from his Bel Air, Los Angeles, California home to the Gates, Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica, California to prepare the body for burial.[1] On June 7, Reagan's casket was taken by a hearse.

Funeral at Washington, D.C.[change | edit source]

It was displayed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, then flown to Washington, D.C. on June 9 for a service, public viewing and tributes at the U.S. Capitol.[1]

President Ronald Reagan

After lying in state for thirty-four hours in the Capitol Rotunda, a state funeral service was held at the Washington National Cathedral on June 11.

George W. Bush's reaction[change | edit source]

On the same day, President George W. Bush declared a national day of mourning. Bush was in Paris when Reagan died. Later that day, after the service, Reagan's casket was taken back to California for burial at the Reagan Presidential Library.[1] Bush later said the following during his press-conference in Paris:

George W. Bush and Laura Bush pay their respects to Reagan
This is a sad hour in the life of America. A great American life has come to an end. I have just spoken to Nancy Reagan. On behalf of our whole nation, Laura and I offered her and the Reagan family our prayers and our condolences.

Ronald Reagan won America's respect with his greatness, and won its love with his goodness. He had the confidence that comes with conviction, the strength that comes with character, the grace that comes with humility, and the humor that comes with wisdom. He leaves behind a nation he restored and a world he helped save.

During the years of President Reagan, America laid to rest an era of division and self-doubt. And because of his leadership, the world laid to rest an era of fear and tyranny. Now, in laying our leader to rest, we say thank you. He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this is true for him, too. His work is done, and now a shining city awaits him. May God bless Ronald Reagan.[2]

History[change | edit source]

Mikhail Gorbachev (left), Brian Mulroney (center), and Margaret Thatcher (right) attend the service

The state funeral was the first since the funeral of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973.[1] Richard Nixon, who lead over Johnson's funeral, declined to have a state funeral in 1994.

Guests[change | edit source]

About 4,000 people gathered at the cathedral for the service, including President and Mrs. Bush, former president George H. W. and Barbara Bush, Gerald and Betty Ford, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Members of Congress and past and present governors were also present.[3] Foreign leaders also attended Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, and Prince Charles (representing Queen Elizabeth II).[3]

Other world leaders included UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, Prince Charles, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, close friends Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Jordan's King Abdullah, New York City mayors Michael Bloomberg and Ed Koch, as well as interim presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer of Iraq, and Irish President Mary McAleese.[3]

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, French President Jacques Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, also president of the European Union, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also paid their respects to Reagan.

References[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]