Among the speakers at the 37th president's library was former Nixon White House aide Bruce Herschensohn.
"I believe no president, no world leader, perhaps no person, other than President Nixon had the tremendous genius of looking at the world in a very unique way with a tremendous vision that is unexceled," Herschensohn said.
"It wasn't that he looked at the globe with some 200 nations -- anybody can do that -- he looked at it as a globe with 200 countries and 200 leaders, and he had studied every one of those leaders and he knew most of them, and he was able to talk at great length about a particular leader, about his eccentricities, about his friends, about his foes, about his ambitions.
"And each day he would take time to study the day's events in terms of those things he knew to be true on a Saturday and had changed on a Sunday."
Herschensohn said that was a "passion and a talent" he had never seen before, and noted even the political opposition respected.
One of Nixon's daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., Maj. Gen. Melvin Spiese and Adm. Dixon Smith also were on hand for the ceremony at Nixon's birthplace in Yorba Linda, which included the laying of a wreath, a fighter jet flyover, a 21-gun salute and music by a Marine Corps band.
Nixon, who was born Jan. 9, 1913, and died April 22, 1994, served as president from 1969 to 1974 when he became the only U.S. president to resign while in office as a result of the Watergate scandal. He also was remembered for accomplishments, including easing Cold War relations with China and the Soviet Union.
On Wednesday, the commemoration of Nixon's centennial birthday will move to The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., where former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Cox, her sister Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Republican presidential adviser and commentator Pat Buchanan and conservative political commentator Ben Stein will speak.