WASHINGTON (CNN) - An emotional Nancy Reagan on Wednesday helped unveil a statue of her late husband, President Ronald Reagan, calling the 7-foot figure "a wonderful likeness."
Mrs. Reagan paused during her brief speech at the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, appearing to battle emotions as she mentioned her last visit to the marbled hall for Reagan's memorial in June 2004.
"It's nice to be back under happier circumstances," she said.
The statue is one of two from California in the National Statuary Hall Collection donated by states to honor significant figures.
Mrs. Reagan stood arm-in-arm with Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader from Ohio, to pull down the curtain from the statue. She thanked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California for making the event possible.
In her remarks, Pelosi noted that the former president's statue contains pieces of the Berlin Wall, "as a symbol of his commitment to national security and to his success." The wall was torn down shortly after Reagan left office.
The former president is credited with polices that led to the break-up of the former Soviet Union and the dismantling of the wall that divided Berlin as a symbol of Cold War politics.
James Baker, a longtime Republican who served in the Cabinets of Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, recalled that Reagan inherited some major problems when he took office in 1981.
Citing the former president's trademark optimism, he quoted from Reagan's first inaugural address that "we are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline."
Mrs. Reagan attended a White House ceremony Tuesday marking President Barack Obama's signing of legislation authorizing a Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission. The 11 member commission will plan activities marking Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday on February 6, 2011.