Thousands pay final respects to Nancy Reagan ahead of funeral

  • Reuters, Los Angeles
  • Updated: Mar 11, 2016 14:17 IST
This December 1986, file photo shows first lady Nancy Reagan holding the Reagans' pet Rex, a King Charles spaniel, as she and President Reagan walk on the White House South lawn. (AP Photo)

Mourners filed quietly past the casket of former first lady Nancy Reagan on Thursday for a second day at her husband’s presidential library in Southern California ahead of a funeral to be attended by current First Lady Michelle Obama.

Reagan’s flower-bedecked, dark wood casket stood on a blue carpet, surrounded by an honour guard in an entrance hall of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, north of Los Angeles, as members of the public paid final their respects.

“It was very emotional. It was a beautiful time gone by and I think she’s kind of the last of all of that,” said Kathy Sprinkel, 56, who works nearby. Mourners walked past a bronze statue of Ronald Regan and two 12-foot-tall portraits of the former first lady, dressed in a floor-length red gown, before entering the room where she lie in repose.

More than 3,100 members attended the first day of public visitation on Wednesday, library spokeswoman Melissa Giller said. Another 2,000 people were expected by the end of the day on Thursday.

A mother and her children pay their respects as former first lady Nancy Reagan lies in repose at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California March 10, 2016. (REUTERS)

Private funeral services have been scheduled for Friday and the White House has said that Michelle Obama would attend.

Nancy Reagan, a one-time actress who was fiercely protective of her husband throughout his Hollywood career, eight years in the White House, an assassination attempt and his struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, died on Sunday at age 94.

She was one of the most influential first ladies in US history during her Republican husband’s presidency from 1981 to 1989.

Ronald Reagan died in 2004 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, the progressive brain disorder that destroys the memory.

President Obama, a Democrat, and his wife, Michelle, have said Nancy Reagan redefined the role of First Lady.

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