WASHINGTON - America bade farewell to Ronald Reagan on Friday in a majestic state funeral at Washington's National Cathedral where world leaders lauded the former president as a prophet of freedom and moral victor of the Cold War.
"Ronald Reagan believed ... in the courage and triumph of free men and we believe it all the more because we saw that courage in him," said President George W. Bush, delivering a eulogy to his predecessor.
"As Ronald Wilson Reagan goes his way, we are left with the joyful hope he shared," he said.
After the service, Reagan's body was flown to California and laid to rest in the rolling California hills that he loved in a sunset ceremony that ended a week of national mourning for the 40th president - the last chapter of what Bush called "a great American story."
At the burial ceremony at the Reagan Presidential library in Simi Valley, an honor guard presented widow Nancy Reagan with the flag that had been draping his coffin for the last journey home.
She dabbed her eyes, hugged the flag to her chest and then walked to the coffin, placed her cheek on it and began to weep as her children Ron and Patti comforted her.
The frail 82-year-old widow placed a single kiss on the coffin and reluctantly allowed herself to be led away so that the burial service could conclude.
In contrast to the formal, state funeral service held in Washington, Reagan's burial was a family affair attended by some 700 close friends, many of them people the late president had known since his days as a Hollywood actor.
The ceremony capped six days of mourning and nostalgic remembrance.
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