In a way that many might not want to be.
"I took an aptitude test in high school," Boetticher said. "There were a hundred or so different occupations, from pilot to real estate agent. Mine came up funeral director."
Here's the story of Reagan's mortician.
Here are more facts about the state funeral and related events. Note the rather spectacular amount of ceremonial gunfire that marks a president's death. It's an interesting commentary on the somewhat elevated, more intimate relationship between the president as commander-in-chief and his constituents in that capacity. The rest of his former constituents will hopefully refrain from too many bulleted salutes. Is the military the last American aspect still fully pomp-and-circumstanced? Seems so here. Perhaps it's because the death aspect of, well, life, is so much more prevalent in the military (yes, that seems an obvious statement I know) - so where the president may have asked frequently for their death, he is now dead himself. I don't know - I thinks there's something profound in there on the nature of man (and I mean man), military, and warrior culture. So much solemn marking of death. . . .
The past instructs the present when the United States carries out a state funeral, establishing a template that officials and family use in planning the ceremony. A look at elements of President Reagan's state funeral, their place in history and some of the terminology:
A funeral procession moves to the Capitol from near the White House starting around 3 p.m. PDT today, an hour after Reagan's body arrives from California at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. A state funeral service in the rotunda of the Capitol follows, and then his casket will lie in state through the night and into Friday morning for viewing by dignitaries and the public. A funeral service takes place Friday at National Cathedral before Reagan's body is flown back to California for a private sunset burial on the grounds of the Reagan Library.
Lying in state
In California, Reagan lay in repose; in Washington, he lies in state. The difference is the setting: The deceased can only lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. Reagan will be the 10th president to lie in state in the rotunda, the first since Lyndon Johnson in 1973.
All U.S. Army installations with troops and guns join in a salute that began Monday with the firing of one gun every half-hour at each base, from reveille to retreat. On Friday, each installation will participate in a 21-gun salute at noon, firing once a minute. The day will end at each base with a 50- gun salute, fired every five seconds, immediately following the lowering of the flag.
In Washington, two 105mm howitzers will sound their booming 21-gun salute when Reagan's casket arrives at the Capitol today.
Gunfire over the grave
Three volleys are fired over the grave at burial, a custom carried over from the battlefield, when warriors periodically paused from fighting to tend to the dead. The volleys signaled that the burial party was ready to resume battle.
The custom of threes is believed to have been adapted from ancient Rome, when mourners cast dirt on the coffin three times, thrice called the name of the dead and thrice declared vale, meaning farewell, as they left the tomb.
Each stage of the funeral is attended by music from a military band. Aside from hymns, traditional selections include "Hail to the Chief," graveside taps and "Ruffles and Flourishes."
The ruffle on drums and the flourish on bugles are sounded together, up to four times depending on the prominence of the deceased. Reagan, as all presidents, will get four ruffles and flourishes.
On the road
Processions using motorcades are to move at 20 mph.
Perhaps the most indelible image of a presidential state funeral is the procession of six horses pulling the black artillery caisson that bears the flag-draped casket. Only the three horses on the left are mounted, a tradition dating to when one artillery horse in every pair carried provisions instead of a rider.
Behind the caisson is another riderless horse, with an empty saddle and the rider's boots reversed in the stirrups, symbolizing a warrior who will ride no more. The caisson and "caparisoned," or decorated, horse are central in today's procession to the Capitol. The caparisoned horse for Reagan's procession is Sgt. York, a solid black standardbred retired from the racetrack.
The honorary pallbearers are former Reagan aides Michael Deaver and Frederick Ryan, entertainer Merv Griffin, Reagan's White House physician John Hutton and Charles Wick, former Hollywood producer and former head of the U.S. Information Agency.
The casket is carried by "body bearers" drawn from each of the military services.