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Ronald Reagan centennial celebration gets underway; what are your favorite memories of the Gipper?

February 4, 2011 |  8:55 am

Talk back LAThe F-18s will soar over the Ronald Reagan library on Sunday. Nancy Reagan will lay a wreath at her husband's tomb.

The next few days are expected to bring about 10,000 people to the newly renovated Ronald Reagan Presidential Library near Simi Valley to mark what would have been Reagan's 100th birthday -– or the "61st anniversary of his 39th" -– as he liked to call it.

The Beach Boys, Lonestar and Sarah Palin will be among those at the fete, where the crowd will munch on birthday cake layered with "mixed, colored jelly beans," one of the Gipper's favorite snacks.

Visitors will also be able to explore the $15-million overhaul of the Reagan library, which will allow people to stand at a podium and deliver his first inaugural address or noodle around with Reagan-era stock prices, inflation, and government spending -– checking, for instance, the value of various investments at the beginning and end of his terms. They can recall his attempted assassination in 1981, looking at the suit that was cut off him and the notes he jotted when he had a breathing tube down his throat.

Read Times reporter Steve Chawkins' full story about the centennial celebration and library upgrades here.

Do you have any favorite memories of Reagan? What do you think his legacy is? Tell us your thoughts below.

Photo: President Reagan salutes as he tells a joke during an address to the leadership of the American Legion in February 1987. Credit: Mike Sargent/AFP/Getty Images