From an e-mail:
As a Southern Californian who has defected to the North (alas, my wife!), I could not make the viewing of the casket. My father, however, went with an aunt and uncle and this is what they had to say:
2:30 AM – Arrived at the freeway exit to the Library
5:30 AM – Actually able to exit freeway
8:30 AM – Finally in line at the Library
11:00 AM – Viewed the casket – Color guards were especially impressive
12:30 PM – Arrived back at the car in the community college parking lot.
According to my father, the crowd is unbelievable. The folks in front of my family were from Afghanistan, with the wife knowing very little English. This family, who had emigrated to the US in the early 90’s, drove from San Jose (7 hours, in case you are wondering), as he felt Reagan had a hand in his achievement of freedom. The people behind my family were from Marin (if you can believe it!). These folks had an infant that was born April 14th, who also made the trip with them.
The crowd in general is a cross-section of Americana. There are people of every age, creed, color, and size. My father did mention, however, that there was less of a showing from the black community, though I wonder how much of that has to do with the location of Simi Valley. Apparently, the energy of the place is astounding. Though it is a sad time, there is a certain peace and sense of relief that is abuzz among the crowd.