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World Remembers Reagan - 2004-06-06


Prominent figures and ordinary people are remembering former President Ronald Reagan as a man of unusual personal warmth who changed the course of world events.

French President Jacque Chirac said the 40th U.S. president leaves "a deep mark in history" because of "the strength of his convictions and his commitment to democracy."

German President Johannes Rau noted that "in a divided world, he always upheld our commom vision of a united and peaceful Europe."

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a close friend of Mr. Reagan, said he "had a higher claim than any other leader to have won the Cold War ... without a shot being fired."

Mrs. Thatcher noted that "millions of men and women ... live in freedom today because of the policies he pursued." Across the United States, flags were lowered to half-staff and ballparks went silent to mourn Mr. Reagan's passing.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said "even when he was breaking Democratic hearts, he did so with a smile, and in the spirit of honest and open debate."

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist called him "a true patriot" who "left an indelible mark on our country and our global community." Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle remarked that "America has lost an icon."

In the small midwestern town of Dixon (in Illinois) -- Mr. Reagan's childhood home -- townspeople laid flowers at the foot of his statue. Half a country away, (Mark Spencer) a security guard in (Santa Barbara) California said many Americans saw he considered Mr. Reagan as a national grandfather. Half a world away, (Laurentiu Ivan) a customs officer in Romania said, "It is due to him that we are free."

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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