The 40th President's body lies in repose at his library before a Friday state funeral

By Stephen M. Silverman
June 07, 2004 08:00 AM

Friday has been declared a national day of mourning for President Ronald Reagan, as plans are being made for a state funeral that day. President George W. Bush is expected to speak at the ceremony, to be held at Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral.

In the first state funeral in more than three decades, the body of the 40th President, who died at his California home Saturday at age 93 after a decade-long fight with Alzheimer’s disease, will be carried through the streets of Washington on a black-draped caisson accompanied by a traditional muffled drum and riderless horse along a slow motorcade.

Several times this week, the public will be able to pay its respects to the late leader.

A family spokeswoman said in a statement that Reagan’s body will lie in repose on Monday and Tuesday at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., then be flown to Washington aboard Air Force One on Wednesday.

There will be a formal funeral procession Wednesday evening from Andrews Air Force Base to the U.S. Capitol, where the body will lie in state until Friday morning.

After the funeral at 11:30 a.m., ET, the body will be flown back to California for burial at the Reagan Library.

Nancy Reagan, 82, who was with the former President at the time of his death, is expected to make a statement about her husband of 52 years. The family is currently in seclusion as tributes pour in, including, it has been reported, a phone call from the Pope.

“Mrs. Reagan and her family are deeply touched by the outpouring of sympathy from across the country and around the world,” said Joanne Drake, Reagan’s chief of staff.

“While it is an extremely sad time for Mrs. Reagan, there is definitely a sense of relief that he is no longer suffering and that he has gone to a better place,” Drake added.