Farewell To A President

JUNE 12, 2004 - Posted at 11:52 a.m. CDT

SIMI VALLEY, CA - A week of mourning former President Ronald Reagan ended last night when he was remembered in a hilltop ceremony at his professional library in California.  Four Navy fighter jets soared overhead with one peeling away while fifty-gun salutes were conducted around the world.

In poignant eulogies, the nation's 40th chief executive was remembered by his surviving children as a father, grandfather and husband who was finally free from the grip of Alzheimer's disease.

The casket was carried to the burial site, where final prayers were offered, an artillery battery and riflemen fired salutes, and a bugler played taps.

As Nancy Reagan cried, the flag that draped the casket was removed, folded and presented to her by the commander of the nuclear aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.

Mrs. Reagan then placed her head on the casket and wept as her children comforted her.  Unwilling to leave, she kissed and rubbed the casket and said softly, "I love you."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)