By: Kyle MacLelland, Producer, "Larry King Now"
Earlier today, former First Lady Nancy Reagan was laid to rest next to her late husband, President Ronald Reagan. Hundreds of mourners, including many high profile guests, attended the services held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. Four other first ladies — Michelle Obama, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton & Laura Bush — sat in the front rows, along with former President George W. Bush, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown.
(( Jae C. Chung/ AP Images))
Former President George W. Bush & First Lady Laura Bush are seated at the funeral of Nancy Reagan.
A variety of big names from the media and entertainment worlds also attended the funeral, including Tom Brokaw and Diane Sawyer, who delivered a speech and a gospel reading respectively.
Ora TV's own Larry and Shawn King made their way to Simi Valley this morning as well. The two have known Mrs. Reagan for years, developing a close bond with her over dinners and events in Los Angeles.
Following the funeral, I spoke to Larry and Shawn exclusively about Mrs. Reagan's legacy and today's services.
In regards to the atmosphere at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Larry said, "It was an emotion-filled, very fitting tribute for the first lady. There were an array of friends and admirers gathered together who celebrated her wonderful life. It was marvelous to see Michelle Obama, the Bush's and Hillary Clinton sitting together in unison to honor Nancy. In all, the organizers put on a very special service."
Shawn King noted the attention to detail at the funeral, saying that before passing away, it was clear Mrs. Reagan had "meticulously planned her own services and the guest list." Shawn said, "The choice of people she [Mrs. Reagan] invited were those closest to her — those who meant the most to her over the years, no matter what they did or who they were. It was a beautiful tribute."
In particular, Shawn was moved by watching Nancy Reagan's Secret Service detail. She says one officer, "...likely spent nearly everyday with Nancy for many years. This was his last time protecting her and to see him say goodbye next to her casket was very difficult. You often don't think about the security detail, but I'm sure he had a special bond with Mrs. Reagan."
Larry and Shawn jointly observed that the overarching theme of the funeral was "the love between Ronald and Nancy," as many speakers touched on their well-documented admiration for one another.
The long-time broadcaster and current host of Ora TV's "Larry King Now" and "PoliticKing" also mentioned that he ran into former President George W. Bush, who is in "good spirits," and enjoyed catching up with old friends like Tom Selleck, who he said got "particularly emotional" during the ceremony.
(( AP Images ))
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. pays his respects to former First Lady Nancy Reagan.
In addition to Brokaw and Sawyer's remarks, several other speeches were made at the service.
President Reagan's former Chief of Staff James A. Baker, III — a close friend and confidant of Mrs. Reagan — shared some of his favorite memories about the outspoken first lady's steadfast devotion to her husband: "He wrote her every single night. When they were together, he hid her love notes around the house to find...she saved his love notes in a shopping bag in his closet."
In a heartfelt eulogy, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney — a great ally of President Reagan during his second term in the White House — said of the couple: “They had style, they had grace, and they had class.”
Later, Patti Davis & Ronald Prescott Reagan spoke about their mother, recalling her devotion and humor.
In case you missed it, Larry King also gave a touching tribute to former First Lady Nancy Reagan earlier this week on "PoliticKing."
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.