Nancy Reagan will be buried next to her husband Friday during a private funeral at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, officials announced Monday.
The library also announced that the public will have a chance to pay their last respects before the funeral on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parking on-site will not be allowed, but shuttles will be provided from 400 National Way, according to a press release.
Officials said there will be enhanced security during this period at the library.
“No large bags or cameras will be permitted and all bags will be inspected. Strollers will not be allowed inside the building,” the library said in the release. “Gifts and flowers will only be accepted at the bottom of Presidential Drive and at the shuttle pick up location.”
On Sunday, some people who had heard of her death came to pay their respects outside the library’s entrance, in Simi Valley, about 45 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Andy Hall, 48, of Simi Valley, stood by the roadside on the hill leading up to the library, holding an American flag. Hall said he had served in the Army during the first Gulf War.
“He meant a lot to me,” Hall said. “When he died, I came to pay my respects.”
He said he was impressed by Nancy Reagan’s devotion to her husband.
“It’s not about his politics or her politics, it’s about the love they had for each other,” he said.
Julia Berman, 62, of Westlake Village, said she admired Nancy Reagan’s “elegance and social graces.”
“She wore that Reagan red so well,” Berman said.
She recalled the Reagan years as a “golden age” for the country and the couple as consummate Californians. And as a widow herself, Berman said she was inspired by Nancy Reagan’s strength after her husband’s death.
“It really gave me strength just knowing how she would come to all the events, and I’m sure it wasn’t easy,” she said.
To Wendy Armstrong, a volunteer docent at the Reagan library, the late first lady’s legacy was much clearer. She listed Nancy Reagan’s breast cancer activism, her “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, and advocacy for stem cell research as noteworthy accomplishments.
“She was a very criticized first lady, but I think when all the dust has settled, she will go down in history as one of the greatest first ladies,” Armstrong said.
Melissa Giller, a spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, said Nancy Reagan had been an active board member up to the time of her death, and had written to the pope and archdiocese to ask for support for the library’s latest exhibit on the Vatican, which had been scheduled to open Sunday.
“She’s really been the guiding force of the Reagan library for probably the past 15 years,” Giller said.
The former first lady used to visit the library six to 10 times a year, Giller said. In recent years, as travel became more difficult, she had continued to travel there every June on the anniversary of her husband’s death.
John Heubusch, executive director of the Reagan library and foundation, described Nancy Reagan’s death as “the end of an era,” both for the library and the nation.