Americans Remember President Ronald Reagan

Crowds began gathering around the Reagan home in Bel-Air today to pay their respects. And across the country flags on government property have been lowered to half- staff on orders from President Bush.

President Reagan died surrounded by his family.  It was, says his chief of staff, a very private moment.

"I can tell you most certainly while it was an extremely sad time, there was a sense of relief that he is no longer suffering and has gone to a better place," says Joanne Drake.

Drake says Nancy Reagan is grateful for the condolences coming in from around the world and for the memorials that have sprung up outside the mortuary and the Presidential library. One well wisher even left a jar of jelly beans, Ronald Reagan's favorite treat.

The tributes come from across the political spectrum.  Michael Adreani says, "my family was a big Jimmy Carter kind of family, but he had a profound effect on me and all of us. I think."

Monday, the public will begin to pay their respects in person, filing past the closed coffin at the Presidential library before it is flown to Washington, DC on Wednesday. The President will lie in state in the capitol Rotunda until the funeral Friday.

"President Bush will speak at the national cathedral at the state service Friday," says former Reagan aide Fred Ryan.

It will be the first state funeral since former President Nixon was laid to rest in 1994.  A funeral, Drake says, the Reagans have been planning since 1981. She says it was important to Ronald Reagan that the public on both coasts be given a chance to participate.

"He was an extraordinary man, and I feel honored that my children had a chance to meet him. I know his legacy will carry the country far far into the future," says Drake.