By Matt Sifert | Federalism In Action
Nancy Reagan, the greatly influential and trusted wife of President Ronald Reagan, passed away from heart failure on Sunday at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 94.
Mrs. Reagan redefined the position of first lady. President Obama on Sunday stated, “she became a voice on behalf of millions of families going through the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s, and took on a new role, as an advocate, on behalf of treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives.” As Tom Brokaw noted earlier this week to MSNBC, Mrs. Reagan was one of “the two or three most important” advisers over the course of Reagan’s administration.
As “Ronnie” ascended from actor, to governor, to President, Nancy was there every step of the way. She played a crucial role in the presidential campaigns of 1976 and 1980. It was Mrs. Reagan Who was there for support every step of the way. But most of all, she was committed, loyal, and loving to her husband, as can be seen in many of their pictures together. She battled alongside her husband as he fought Alzheimer’s before he passed away in 2004.
Outside of the political campaigns, Nancy had her own initiatives. In 1981, she launched the “Just Say No” campaign, as part of the War on Drugs effort, in an effort to curb drug and alcohol abuse. Nancy felt compelled to educate America’s youth about the dangers of drug abuse. She stated, “understanding what drugs can do to your children, understanding peer pressure and understanding why they turn to drugs is… the first step in solving the problem.”
The “Just Say No” campaign quickly became a national hot topic, and Nancy appeared on several television shows in order to advertise for her campaign. Although her campaign has been criticized, there was a steep decline in drug use, especially among younger people, in the 1980s. Mrs. Reagan certainly succeeded in raising awareness and addressing the problems of drug use.
As news spread this week about Nancy’s death, many individuals from the political sphere commented on her passing, including former First Lady Barbara Bush, who stated, “Nancy Reagan was totally devoted to President Reagan, and we take comfort that they will be reunited once more. George and I send our prayers and condolences to her family.”
Perhaps you have heard the old adage, “behind every great man is a great woman”. This is certainly true of the Reagans and their persistent care for one another and the American people. Nancy Reagan will be remembered as one of the greatest and most caring first ladies that America has had to offer. Her kindness and intelligence was unique to such a position.
She will be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband. Before her funeral, there will an opportunity for the public to pay their respects on Wednesday and Thursday, before her funeral on Friday.
About the author: Matt Sifert is a Senior at The King’s College in New York City. He is majoring in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, as well as pursuing a minor in Theology. While at King’s, Matt has interned for Congressman David Schweikert as well as at the American Legislative Exchange Council. After graduation, Matt would like to pursue work in criminal justice or tax policy. In his free time, Matt enjoys all things football and baseball, as well as high-quality music.