Americans mourn and remember President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan, the nation's 40th president died Saturday at age 93 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Reagan was elected to the first of his two terms in 1980, defeating incumbent democrat Jimmy Carter. By the time of the 1984 election, Reagan had become so popular he won re-election sweeping every state in the country except Minnesota, home state of challenger Walter Mondale (D), and Washington, D.C.

Before ascending to the presidency, Reagan had a long career in Hollywood, making more than 50 movies and appearing in dozens of TV shows. In 1947, Reagan was elected to his first of six one-year terms as the president of the Screen Actors Guild. It's in this office that his views started to shift from New Deal Democrat to conservative Republican. Reagan's final film was the 1964 release of "The Killers" -- Reagan's only on-screen credit as a villain.

A television speech designed to boost the sagging presidential campaign of Sen. Barry Goldwater is widely seen as Reagan's arrival on the political stage. Two years later the Great Communicator was elected to the first of two terms as California's governorship.

After two failed bids to win the Republican nomination, he became the party's choice to take on Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election. The result was a Reagan landslide, winning 51 percent of the popular vote.

President Reagan's two terms in office were marked by domestic policies of smaller government and de-regulation and an aggressive foreign relations platform.

When Reagan left the White House in 1989, he promised to remain active on what he called the "mashed potato circuit" and spend more time at his California ranch. Those plans were cut short in 1994 when Reagan told the nation in an emotional letter that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

President Bush has declared Friday a national day of mourning. He plans to speak at Reagan's funeral, which is set for 11:30 Friday morning at Washington National Cathedral.

Before the funeral, the public will get a chance to their pay respects to the late president. Reagan's body will lie in repose Monday and Tuesday at the Reagan library in Simi Valley, California. Reagan's body will then be flown to Washington where there will be a formal funeral procession Wednesday evening from Andrews Air Force Base to the U.S Capitol. The body will then lie in state in the Capitol rotunda until Friday morning.

After the funeral, Reagan's body will be flown back to California for burial at the Reagan library.

Other Ronald Reagan links:Official White House biographyReagan FoundationPublic papers of President Reagan

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