Local News

North Carolinians Pause To Remember Reagan

Posted June 11, 2004 6:46 a.m. EDT

— North Carolina honored former President Ronald Reagan with a moment of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Capitol building Friday in downtown Raleigh.

A statewide tribute took place at 11:30 a.m. to coincide with Reagan's funeral.

At Fort Bragg, the former president received a 21-gun salute. Starting at noon, soldiers fired a cannon once a minute for 21 minutes. Even though most soldiers had the day off, a small group still turned out to pay their respects.

Friday was a national day of mourning. All federal government offices, post offices and U.S. stock markets were closed.

Former Sen. Jesse Helms and his wife, Dot, are longtime friends of the Reagans. Helms was unable to attend the funeral service in Washington because of his recent gall-bladder surgery.

"Even as we mourn this great loss, we are so grateful that we knew him, and that he reawakened our pride in the 'Shining City on a Hill.' America will never forget Ronald Reagan," Helms said.

A wreath, with red and white carnations and ribbon in patriotic colors, was erected in part by the Alzheimer's Association of Eastern North Carolina.

Alice Watkins, the association's executive director, says Reagan's open letter in 1994 letting people know he had Alzheimer's disease made it easier for other victims of the illness to speak out.

The wreath was placed next to a table within the Capitol Rotunda, where a book of remembrance remains open for visitors to sign their name. It will remain there for a month, then be sent to the Reagan Presidential Library in California. About 150 people a day have written in the book since Tuesday.

Condolence cards and letters also can be sent to the president's family through the Alzheimer's Association at 400 Oberlin Road, Suite 220, Raleigh, N.C., 27605.

More than 100 people

attended a tribute to Reagan

Wednesday evening at the GOP headquarters on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

State lawmakers plan to send a resolution honoring Reagan to his family. The state Senate voted late Wednesday to memorialize the 40th president. The joint resolution commemorates Reagan's life and accomplishments.