Sunday, March 6, 2016

Nancy Reagan, In Memoriam

           Nancy (Davis) Reagan, the widow of United States President Ronald Reagan, died today at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 94.  

           Born in New York in 1921 as Anne Frances Robbins, she studied drama at Smith College and became an actress, appearing in eleven films.  In 1951, she met her future husband, who was President of the Screen Actors Guild at the time.  Davis appeared opposite Reagan in her last film in 1956, Hellcats of the Navy

The couple was married the following year.  The Reagans had two children together and two stepchildren from Ronald Reagan’s first marriage.  They were blessed with 52 years of love and marriage. 

            During Ronald Reagan’s tenure as Governor of California from 1967 to 1975, Nancy Reagan supported the Foster Grandparent program for handicapped children.  While her husband served as President from 1981-1989, she led an anti-drug and alcohol abuse campaign known by its slogan of “Just Say No.”  The campaign was more effective in reducing drug abuse than educational efforts alone at the time because it empowered youths to resist the allure of chemical abuse in order to maintain sobriety and avoid harms to health and addiction.

            Nancy Reagan had always been supportive of her husband’s political career.  Even after his death from Alzheimer’s disease in 2004 at 93, she maintained her devotion to her husband by her activity on behalf of the Reagan Library.  As she had for breast cancer awareness after suffering from the illness in 1987, Nancy Reagan raised awareness about Alzheimer’s, raising money for research for treatments and cures. 

            While residing in the White House, Nancy Reagan wrote a memoir, My Turn, in 1987.  In 2001, she sponsored the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan.

            The great success of conservative Republican Ronald Reagan’s presidency was provided indispensable emotional support by Nancy Reagan and she was protective of her husband, not only against critics or staff she recognized as not sufficiently loyal, but especially in regard to his security after the attempted assassination attempt on his life in 1981.  She also personified Ronald Reagan’s compassion for his fellow Americans. 

           May the legacy of Ronald and Nancy Reagan continue to lift people up and remind Americans that their best days are yet ahead.  

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