A June 10 item incorrectly reported why the Washington headquarters of the AFL-CIO will be open during the national day of mourning for former president Ronald Reagan. A union spokesperson said the office is staying open today strictly for business reasons and not to make any political point. (Published 6/11/04)
Frist Wants to Rename Pentagon
Ronald Reagan's name already is on a Washington airport and massive federal trade building, as well as an aircraft carrier and a Los Angeles freeway.
Now Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is championing the idea of renaming the Pentagon. Under the legislation Frist has suggested, the Pentagon henceforth would be known as the Ronald Reagan National Defense Building.
Others have proposed that a monument to the former president be built on the Mall, although Reagan himself signed a law saying that no monument could be erected there to anyone until at least 25 years after that person's death.
A Marketing Break
Finally, a respite from those annoying phone calls at dinnertime.
The Direct Marketing Association called on its members yesterday to refrain from making marketing calls and sending commercial e-mails to consumers tomorrow, which has been designated a national day of mourning for the late president.
"We are calling on marketers to consider the mood of the country on this day of national mourning," said H. Robert Wientzen, president and chief executive of the association. ". . .Businesses should keep in mind the thoughts of consumers and the reputation of the industry."
If members insist on making calls, he said, they should "do so with the utmost caution."
Bringing a Blessing
As a crowd of well-wishers watched the coffin carrying the remains of the former president being transferred from a hearse to a horse-drawn caisson on Constitution Avenue NW, someone in the crowd yelled, "God bless you, Nancy." Reagan's widow turned to acknowledge the greeting, and that started a wave of applause in the crowd.
The man who yelled out the comment was James Ruby, 40, of Indian Head. He works for Pepco and had left work at 2:30 p.m. to honor Reagan.
"I'm a Christian man, and I believe Ronald Reagan was a Christian," he said. "She [Nancy Reagan] is a Christian, and the world will bless them."
He said he hadn't planned to greet her, but "just looking at her, I was feeling for her."
AFL-CIO Makes a Point
Many private businesses and local and state governments are shutting down tomorrow to observe the national day of mourning.
But some are going out of their way to send a different message.
Officials at the Washington headquarters of the AFL-CIO said they are staying open to make the point that the former president was a union-buster, passing up an opportunity for a three-day weekend.
The Best-Laid Plans
D.C. Police Cmdr. Cathy Lanier was in charge of ensuring that more than 500 officers were stationed along the caisson route and other critical areas.
She drove up and down Constitution Avenue NW about 3 p.m. yesterday, taking in the scene and making sure everything was going smoothly. It wasn't.
The avenue was supposed to be shut down at that moment, but some officers hadn't staffed their posts between Third and 15th streets, and traffic was still flowing. In fact, several blocks of Constitution Avenue did not appear to have any officers at all.
"This is where I start to get the most nervous," Lanier said, as she flipped through a 21/2-inch police briefing book. "I like to see things happen a little faster."
With the help of an aide, Lanier talked with colleagues over her cell phone and police radio, working feverishly to get the road cleared.
Within about a half-hour, well before the procession began, all the officers were at their posts. And by 4 p.m., as Lanier's cell phone battery died, traffic had ceased.
The Exhausting Heat
About 120 people who had gathered for yesterday's procession were treated for heat-related health problems, officials said.
Cooling tents, trauma units and legions of rescuers were on hand as the temperature rose to 92 on the humid afternoon. Nearly 100 people standing along the funeral route or waiting in line were treated at the tents, said D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical spokesman Alan Etter.
Thirty-eight others, including two people in serious condition, were transported to hospitals for treatment, Etter said.
"It was challenging to deal with all the heat-related events, but we had it well in hand," Etter said.
State of the Union
The National Archives today will begin displaying Reagan's first State of the Union address, which he gave on Jan. 26, 1982.
The exhibit, open through July 5, will feature the first and last pages of the speech, delivered by Reagan one year after he took office and 10 months after he was wounded in an assassination attempt.
Compiled from reports by staff writers Rick Weiss, Richard Leiby, Lena H. Sun, Del Quentin Wilber, Petula Dvorak and Valerie Strauss and the Associated Press.