SIMI VALLEY, Calif., March 11, 2016 – World leaders have paid their final respects to former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who died of congestive heart failure at her California home Sunday. She was 94.
In attendance Friday were first lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and his wife, former first lady Laura Bush, former first lady Rosalynn Carter and former first lady Hillary Clinton.
The ceremony was set atop a bluff on the west side of the library, with sweeping views of ranch land and greenish-brown brush.
Clouds rolled in from the ocean, threatening the funeral with rain which miraculously held off until the final moments of the ceremony – one commentator notating that Nancy was running things still.
Reagan’s two children, Patti Davis and Ronald Jr., spoke, as did Ronald Reagan’s former Chief of Staff James Baker.
Baker shared some memories of the couple’s love.
“He wrote her every single night. When they were together, he hid her love notes around the house to find,” he said. “She saved his love notes in a shopping bag in his closet.”
“The only day I saw her lose her composure was the day the president was shot,” Baker said, telling how Reagan tried to reassure her by making a joke and saying “”Honey, I forgot to duck,’ he said,'” Baker recalled.
“That was his way of comforting her.”
The Santa Susana High School Choir started the service by singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at the beginning of the service and performed “Amazing Grace” after a recessional of bagpipers and a rendition of “God Bless America.” Hollywood stars also paid their respects to the former first lady, including Mr. T, Wayne Newton, Anjelica Houston, Tom Selleck and Melissa Rivers.
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.
Mrs. Reagan planned the smallest details of her own funeral. She selected the flower arrangements, the music to be played by a Marine Corps band and the list of guests invited to the private memorial.