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Reagan library exhibit to focus on funeral

/ Source: The Associated Press

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library plans an exhibit on last week’s funeral ceremonies and the public tributes following Reagan’s death.

The exhibit titled “Mourning in America” will open July 4 and include photo montages, shell casings from the 21-gun salute and the bier on which Reagan’s casket rested, the museum said Sunday. Video footage of the five days of funeral events in California and Washington will also be shown.

Reagan, the nation’s 40th president, died at his Los Angeles home June 5 at age 93 from pneumonia complicated by Alzheimer’s disease. His body was entombed Saturday in a crypt on the hilltop library grounds.

After his death, the entire library and museum was closed for ceremonies, though the public was invited to pass by Reagan’s casket in the lobby. About 106,000 people visited, most after waiting hours in line.

The presidential library, which includes a museum, was to reopen to the public Monday with extended hours.

Reagan’s widow, Nancy, and his three surviving children had left the library following a Friday night sunset ceremony.

Workers closed the underground crypt overnight Saturday while a handful of Secret Service agents, library personnel and mortuary representatives watched, said Duke Blackwood, the library’s executive director.

The mahogany casket was sealed within a bronze-lined vault, seven feet underground inside the crypt, which also includes space for Mrs. Reagan’s final resting place.

The vault and casket weigh a total of about 4,000 pounds, and workers needed heavy machinery to move them into place, Blackwood said.

Workers covered the crypt with earth and a concrete pathway.