Reagan Laid to Rest

Ronald Reagan's (search) body was sealed inside a tomb Saturday at his hilltop presidential library following a week of mourning and remembrance by world leaders and regular Americans.

Workers closed the underground crypt shortly before 3 a.m. while a handful of Secret Service agents, library personnel and mortuary representatives watched, said Duke Blackwood, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (search) in Simi Valley.

Reagan's widow, Nancy, and his three surviving children had left hours earlier following a Friday night sunset ceremony.

In his second tribute in two days, President Bush on Saturday called Reagan a "modest son of America."

"Ronald Reagan always told us that for America, our best was yet to come," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "We know that is true for him, too. His work is done."

A headstone of Georgian gray granite was to be set up at the memorial site above the crypt, where an inscription from Reagan himself is set into a curved wall adorned with shrubbery and ivy.

"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph. And there's purpose and worth to each and every life," the inscription reads.

Reagan first used the words while opening the library in 1991.

The solid mahogany casket was sealed within a bronze-lined vault, seven feet underground inside the crypt, which also includes space for Nancy Reagan.

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

On Saturday, workers covered the crypt with earth and a concrete pathway.

The memorial site will open to visitors at 10 a.m. Monday along with the rest of the 100-acre presidential library and museum, and Blackwood said big crowds are expected.

Also Saturday, hundreds of people gathered at Eureka College (search) to remember Reagan, the tiny Illinois school's most prominent alumnus.

The 1932 Eureka College graduate often credited the tiny school with starting him off to good things. He served on its board of trustees for many years, and used the college as the backdrop for a 1982 speech in which he announced a plan that became the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

"He didn't simply graduate and send money on occasion," said Paul Lister, the college's acting president. "That was not his style. He remained a part of this campus."

More than 200,000 people on both coasts paid their respects to the nation's 40th president last week, filing silently past his coffin, first at the library and then in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Thousands more lined streets in Washington and Southern California to watch the hearse and motorcade pass.

Reagan died June 5 at the age of 93 from pneumonia complicated by the Alzheimer's disease that had progressively clouded his mind. In 1994, five years after concluding his two-term presidency, he told the world he had Alzheimer's.

At a Friday evening service at the library, Reagan's children — Michael Reagan, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan — shared memories of their father along with a host of foreign dignitaries, politicians and movie stars. Reagan's daughter Maureen, from his first marriage, died from cancer in 2001.

"He is home now. He is free," Ron Reagan said.

Nancy Reagan (search), 82, clutched a folded American flag and cried as she placed her head on the lid of the casket holding her husband of 52 years. "I love you," she said quietly.