The Wednesday ceremony took place at Nixon's grave site at the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, located near the home where he was born in 1913, The Orange County (Calif.) Register reported Thursday.
"If he made some mistakes, it was because he was a challenged man," said Ed Nixon, the youngest brother of the 37th president. "He responded to those challenges. Sometimes he might be a little too brusque for some people. Other people cheered him."
Ed Nixon also spoke in favor of his brother, who died April 22, 1994, four days after suffering a stroke. He recalled the former president's efforts on U.S. relations with China and his handling of the Vietnam War.
Some speakers at the event acknowledged Nixon's struggles, but focused on diplomacy and his role in establishing the Environmental Protection Agency.
Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974 as he faced impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal.