Anne Frances Robbins, or Nancy Reagan as she is known to us is summed up by most historians as an actress turned first lady. It is too unfair and short a eulogy for someone who personified living life to the fullest. Nancy Reagan was the 40thFirst Lady. Over the two terms of Reagans administration from 1981-89, she brought glamour, lan and formality to the White House after Jackie Kennedy.

Hollywood days and Marriage

While never playing the lead role, Nancy Davis (as she was known in Hollywood then) always played memorable onesinThe Doctor and the Girl(1949);East Side, West Side;Shadow on the Wall(1950);The Next Voice You Hear...;Night Into Morning(1951);Donovan's Brain(1953). In her next-to-last movie,Hellcats of the Navy(1957), she played nurseLieutenant Helen Blairwith her husband Ronald Reagan. Her final movie wasCrash Landing(1958). She met her husband Ronald Reagan in her Hollywood days and married him on March 4 1953. The Reagans were quite a love match and in later years Charlton Heston would call it"the greatest love affair in the history of the American Presidency".

As the First Lady

When she first saw the state of the White House rooms, Nancy was flabbergasted with the utter disrepair it was in. Using an interior designer, she updated most of the furniture and helped transform the place to one of beauty and elegance. Never a wilting wallflower, Nancy wielded quite a bit of influence over her husbands executive decisions. She unapologetically accepts this in her 1989 Memoirs My Turn, "[H]owever the first lady fits in, she has a unique and important role to play in looking after her husband. And it's only natural that she'll let him know what she thinks. I always did that for Ronnie, and I always will."[1]

Just say no campaign

Nancy Reagans Just say no campaign against drug abuse among the youth of the country was her landmark initiative. When a student asked her the question, What do we do when someone offers drugs? her answer was Just say no! This captured the imagination of the masses and became the byword of her anti-drug campaigns. Her stand was to comprehend why the youth turned to drugs in the first place. Nancy travelled extensively across the country to meet young people who were being rehabilitated in Drug Rehabilitation centers. She wrote articles on drug abuse, appeared on TV talk shows and spoke in public service announcements. The Just say no campaign is still going strong in a number of statesacross the country.

Other initiatives

After moving out of the White House in 1989,Nancy Reagan was actively involved in the National Alzheimer's association. This was after coming face to face with the debilitating disease when her husbandsuccumbed to it. She was also involved in supporting stem cell research asa cure for Alzheimer's and appealed toPresident George W. Bush to fund embryonic stem cell research. For all of her initiatives and efforts,Nancy Reagan was awarded the nation's highest civilian honor - The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on July 9, 2002.

Final years

After Reagan's death, Nancy Reagan suffered poor health and a nasty fall. But her friends found her'as sharp as ever'and mentioned that she still had a thing or two to say about politics and politicians. Nancy Reagan breathed her lastat the age of 94 on March 6 2016, of congestive heart failure. Shewas the ideal First Lady in all senses.She was always protective of Ronald Reagan and managed to give her all, be it organizing his election campaigns, supervising state dinners in the White House, nursing Reagan back to health after assassination attempts on him, and helping him fight Alzheimers later. She didn't sit pretty in the White House, but went out to vociferously support the causes she believed in. From Hollywood to White House and back to their Family ranch, Nancy Reagan saw it all and did it all with a quiet dignity, flairand a backbone of steel! Her's wastrulya 'life lived to the fullest!' References

This entry was posted in General and tagged ronald reagan, nancy reagan, first lady on March 10, 2016 by lavanya kannan