The five Yorba Linda City Council members laid a wreath of red roses and white China mums in front of the casket of former President Richard Nixon Tuesday night as they formally paid their last respects.
Mayor Barbara Kiley, dressed in a black overcoat and her hair neatly in a bun, delivered a prepared statement to the audience inside the library's foyer.
Kiley called Nixon “a man of vision and a man of history,” as she stood with councilmen Dan Welch, Mark Schwing, John Gullixson, Henry Wedaa and City Manager Art Simonian.
“We have cherished his birth and now we will tend his memory with warm and loving hands forever,” Kiley said.
Councilman Dan Welch, who said he spoke with Nixon at the funeral of Pat Nixon, said that Nixon was a good man.
“He was a warm human being. I had the opportunity to meet him at Pat Nixon's funeral. He had a real interest in the community as a whole as well as on a national level and I think he expressed that until the day he died. He was a true public servant,” he said.
City council members presented the wreath 90 minutes after Gov. Pete Wilson laid a wreath of yellow roses at the casket.
Aided by an honor guard from the U.S. Coast Guard and surrounded by Navy, Air Force and Marine honor guards, council members also shared a moment of silence with the mourners inside who had come to pay their last respects.
“I think he was a terrific president,” Welch said as his family stood beside him outside of the library, “one who will be remembered mostly for his work in foreign policy.”
Gullixson, wearing a dark suit, said little as he emerged from the wreath ceremony, only expressing surprise and awe at the large crowd that had gathered to visit Nixon.
“This line is incredible,” he said.
Welch praised the library and its staff for allowing the public to view the casket.
“I think it is very generous of them to open the library so that the public can come and pay last respects to President Nixon,” he said.
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