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Nancy Reagan: Remembered

The passing of a legend. (photo/ newyorker)

The passing of a legend. (photo/ newyorker)

At the age of 94, Nancy Reagan died of congestive heart failure in her Los Angeles home. Nancy Reagan is not someone who most millennials remember being in the White House. She was before the well-known Barbara Bush and Michelle Obama. She was the wife of Ronald Reagan who was President from 1981 to 1989. She had an influence on culture long after leaving the White House.

Nancy Reagan was born in New York City as Anne Frances Robbins. She was referred to as Nancy since birth and her last name became Davis after her mother married Loyal Edward Davis. She met her husband Ronald Reagan and married in 1952. From then on, she was known as Nancy Reagan.

Ronald Reagan was the governor of California from 1967 to 1975. As first lady, she was appointed to California Arts Commission and she was named as "California Times’" Woman of the Year. She was viewed as the first modern first lady because she exhibited glamour, style, and youthfulness that was synonymous with California. She was involved in many programs during her time and continued those programs while in Washington.

One of the greatest accomplishments of Nancy Reagan during her husband’s presidency was her “Just Say No!” campaign. She became aware of the need to educate young people about drugs during a stop on the campaign. The catchphrase of the campaign when a young girl asked Nancy what to do when offered drugs, Nancy remarked “Just Say No." This led to drug awareness clubs being named after the campaign and the name of school’s anti-drug programs. Furthering her efforts, Nancy addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 1988, speaking in support of strengthening international drug interdiction and trafficking laws. Although it has been criticized, this still is in effect to this day and is part of Nancy Reagan’s lasting legacy.

Nancy Reagan was also seen as the “protector” of her husband. Following the assassination attempt, Nancy made it her duty to know every aspect of his itinerary, even going as far as consulting an astrologer before his schedule was finalized.

When her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Nancy became an advocate for the disease. She was his primary caregiver and rarely made appearances in the Los Angeles area. Following Ronald Reagan’s death in 2004, Nancy advocated for then President George W. Bush to fund stem-cell research. He did not agree with her but Nancy still supported him. Nancy continued her husband’s legacy and was awarded the Order of the White Eagle from the government of Poland and an honorary degree from Ronald Reagan's alma mater, Eureka College.

Nancy Reagan died on March 6, 2016. Her funeral was held March 11, 2016 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. She was laid to rest beside her husband. Many well-known names attended the funeral, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, President George W. Bush, Mr. T, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jerry Brown, Wayne Newton, Nancy Pelosi, Angelica Huston, John Stamos, Tom Selleck, Bo Derek, Melissa Rivers, Caroline Kennedy, Paul Ryan, Diane Sawyer, Tom Brokaw, Newt Gingrich, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan. She will be missed. 

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