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WASHINGTON, June 11 — Nancy Reagan started her seventh day of mourning Friday bowed over her husband's coffin in the Rotunda of the Capitol. By the time the sun set in California 12 hours later, Mrs. Reagan had attended a state funeral at National Cathedral, a formal send-off at Andrews Air Force Base and, after a cross-country flight aboard an Air Force jumbo jet, Ronald Reagan's burial on a hillside outside Los Angeles.
For Mrs. Reagan, it was an exhausting and emotional test of endurance, all the more so for an 82-year-old woman who, as friends noted, for 10 years has barely been able to step out for lunch as she cared for her ailing husband. It ended at dusk in California as she wept softly over her husband's coffin with her children at her side. It was also the climax of a meticulously planned week of pageantry and tribute that Mrs. Reagan was, characteristically, intimately involved in arranging, right down to the selection of the tenor who sang "Ave Maria" at the cathedral on this rainy morning.
Mrs. Reagan's friends said she was, to no small extent, shielded from the emotion of her loss as she watched, with evident pride and sorrow, as every motorcade, eulogy, and snap of a salute that made up a memorial unlike any Washington had seen in 50 years unfolded almost precisely as planned.
"She looks a little frail," said Betsy Bloomingdale, a close friend of Mrs. Reagan, speaking from her home in California as she prepared to attend the burial there Friday night. "But she is very strong inside. She is. She has the strength. She is doing her last thing for Ronnie. And she is going to get it right."
Mrs. Reagan's friends were not alone in talking of her composure and resolve this week, on display from the intimate first service at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Monday, where the former first lady brushed the coffin with her cheek, through a state funeral that drew every living president and leaders from around the globe. But they said it, like everything else involving the former first lady this week, was testimony to Mrs. Reagan's fastidiousness and the attention she had always paid to the details of her husband's life. (来源:英语论坛 http://bbs.englishcn.com)
There were, as she intended, no surprises here.
"She was determined to get through this," said another friend of the family's, who asked not to be identified. "It's the role she's been given to play. It's her last thing for him."
The planning began while Mr. Reagan was still in the White House and continued with regular meetings through the years. It was Mrs. Reagan, a friend said, who asked that former President George Bush speak at the funeral, who chose the chorus that would sing, and who helped devise what amounted to an elaborate cross-country funeral timed to the setting of the sun over the Pacific Ocean.
One of her friends noted, after the funeral ended here, that the service could not have been more punctual, making sure that the Boeing 747 carrying Mr. Reagan's body would beat the sunset.
For Mrs. Reagan, these few days marked a period of visibility and demand on her unlike anything she has experienced since her husband left office in January 1989.
She flew back and forth across the nation. She attended four public ceremonies marking her husband's death. During less than 48 hours in Washington, while she stayed at Blair House across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, she accepted sympathy calls from, among others, President Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
For Americans whose last vivid memory of Mrs. Reagan was delivering a speech in his honor at the 1996 Republican presidential convention the past few days provided a blur of sorrowful images of a woman who seemed too stunned to cry, and who was so frail that one friend described her as "nothing more than skin and bones."
After the ceremonies in Washington, and the motorcade back to Andrews Air Force base outside Washington, Mrs. Reagan walked uncertainly up the stairs to the Air Force 747 with the United States of America emblem on the side transporting her husband's coffin home. She had had almost slipped through the door when she stopped and turned around.
 
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