WASHINGTON -- Former President Ronald Reagan was honored on his 100th birthday Sunday with tributes in California and across America.
In a ceremony befitting a man considered an American political icon, the life and legacy of the nation's 40th president were honored at the Simi Valley, Calif. presidential library that bears his name.
An estimated 1,500 invited guests celebrated Reagan's centennial, which included performances by Christian recording artists Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant as well as speeches from friends and confidantes.
"We should do more than talk about history, about what was," former Reagan cabinet member James Baker said. "We should look to the future because that's what Ronald Reagan did."
Former first lady Nancy Reagan greeted the guests who came to honor "The Gipper."
"I know that Ronnie would be thrilled and is thrilled to have all of you share in this 100th birthday," Nancy Reagan said of her late husband.
Although nearly seven years have passed since his death, Reagan's legacy continues to grow. President Reagan has been remembered for his tough talk and his conservative principles.
Today, his legacy is claimed not only by those on the political right but some on the left - something former Vice President Dick Cheney called "a stretch."
"Supposedly debates were more cordial, and opponents on Capitol Hill were unfailingly civil and respectful towards the president," Cheney said at a separate event. "I hope I'm not disillusioning anyone, but I don't quite remember it that way."
While others have continued to challenge who rightly can claim Reagan's legacy, the debate shows the extent of his impact on American politics 22 years after leaving office.
"How many presidents can we say that historians a hundred years after they left office are still writing about them and still interested in them," political commentator George Will said. "Ronald Reagan will be one of those."