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Library Celebrates Reagan’s Birthday

February 7, 2000

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) _ A vintage car show served as a roadmap to key moments in Ronald Reagan’s life as admirers gathered to celebrate the former president’s 89th birthday.

The show was held at Reagan’s presidential library, where about 700 people gathered on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon to also enjoy a barbecue lunch and country music. Lunches cost $15 apiece, and Reagan’s fans enjoyed free birthday cake.

``I think he was a terrific leader, a man for the times,″ said Dede Glaser, who came to the celebration with her 14-year-old daughter Courtney and husband Greg.

Reagan, who last visited the library in May, was too ill to join the party.

Nancy Reagan said Friday on CNN’s ``Larry King Live″ that her husband _ diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994 _ was ``doing as well as can be expected″ considering the disease is progressive.

None of Reagan’s relatives attended the event, but Nancy Reagan’s bright red 1970 Ford Custom Ranch Wagon was on display.

Other cars were presented in the context of Reagan’s life, including a Ford Roadster Deluxe with a rumble seat from 1932, the year he graduated from college; a Chevrolet pickup truck from 1937, the year he worked on his first movie ``Love is on the Air″; and a Rolls Royce silver Wraith Coupe from 1952, the year he and Nancy married.

The celebration also helped promote a commemorative license plate featuring the former president. It features a photo of a smiling Reagan wearing a cowboy hat.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles must receive 5,000 applications for the Reagan plate by Dec. 31 before it will be issued. About 2,000 orders have been placed, said library spokeswoman Teri Saucier.

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