Published January 14, 2015
Ronald Reagan (search) was remembered with jelly beans, flowers and American flags on Sunday at memorials in his hometown and outside the mortuary where the former president's body lay.
"Thank you for changing the world," said a handwritten note among the tokens of remembrance left in Santa Monica for the nation's 40th president, who was 93 when he died of pneumonia, as a complication of Alzheimer's, at his Bel Air home on Saturday.
In a piece written for Time magazine before Reagan's death, Nancy Reagan (search) remembered her husband as "a man of strong principles and integrity" who felt his greatest accomplishment was finding a safe end to the Cold War.
"I think they broke the mold when they made Ronnie," she wrote in the article appearing Monday. "He had absolutely no ego, and he was very comfortable in his own skin; therefore, he didn't feel he ever had to prove anything to anyone."
President Bush (search), in France to commemorate D-Day, recalled that 20 years earlier Reagan had come to Normandy on the anniversary of the June 6, 1944, invasion.
"He was a courageous leader himself and a gallant leader in the cause of freedom, and today we honor the memory of Ronald Reagan," Bush said.
At Reagan's boyhood home in Dixon, Ill., mourners left flowers, flags and packets of Jelly Belly jelly beans (search) -- his favorite -- at the feet of a life-sized statue of Reagan in the front yard.
Ken Dunwoody, 82, who grew up outside Dixon, said the Republican icon transcends partisan politics.
"I just think of him as being an American," Dunwoody said. "I wish we all could get back to that."
At Bel Air Presbyterian Church (search), which Reagan attended during and after his presidency, worshipper Rose McNally recalled how members of the congregation would react to his arrival.
"As soon as he'd start up the ramp, people would pick up a piece of paper, any piece of paper, to get him to sign," she said. "He was a great man."
The Rev. Mark Brewer opened Sunday's first service with a remembrance, saying, "As a nation, we grieve this week."
"He brought with him not only a love for the nation but also a sense of humor," Brewer told about 500 people. He lauded Reagan's leadership in the Cold War, calling it the "third great war" of the century.
Reagan died at 1 p.m. Saturday and his body was taken to a Santa Monica funeral home. A shrine that sprouted outside grew to include a cowboy hat, personal letters, flags, candles and jelly beans.
Hand-written cardboard signs read: "Because of you, we are proud Americans," "God bless you, Ron, and God bless America" and "Good night, Mr. President."