On Mar. 6, former First Lady of ex-president Ronald Reagan died at the age of ninety-four due to congestive heart failure. Most first ladies throughout history have not gotten much attention upon death, let alone while they were living in the White House. However, Nancy Reagan is deemed by many to be one of the most influential first ladies of all-time thanks to her push to end uncontrolled drug use. Reagan was buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California alongside her husband who died in 2004.
Being a staunch conservative, she and Ronald made many controversial moves while in office to oppress the college protestors best known as “hippies” in the late 1960’s. The protests were most notably about America’s involvement in Vietnam; college students were of the few that knew much about Southeast Asia as a whole due to their access to professors and new media. Vietnam was the first televised war in history, and the Reagans had a lot to say about the involvement while Ronald was the governor of California from 1967-1975.
Their most remembered push was during Ronald’s campaign in 1980 to end substance abuse among young people. Their slogan was “Just Say No” in an attempt to expand ex-President Richard Nixon’s declaration of war on drugs in 1971. In 1987, Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer. After successful surgery, she stressed the importance of annual mammograms in order to raise awareness. Her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994, and Nancy remained active within the Reagan Library in order to raise Alzheimer’s awareness as she raised millions of dollars for research and broke with conservative Republicans to advocate stem cell studies.
As controversial as her ideologies were, there is no denying that she was one of the most active first ladies to live in the White House. During her time, the Cold War was still going on, and there was a crazy amount of political tension between the U.S. citizens and other nations. She was always on the same page as her husband, and they pushed for policies that would later reconstruct America’s strong presence on the planet despite the failed attempt at driving communism out of Vietnam. People say the Reagans were the best of their time because they were the most reliable first couple the White House has seen in decades. Reagan was the first two- term president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, and people felt safe under the Reagan administration. Ronald and Nancy were married for fifty-two years, and although they were political figures, they were involved in film also; Nancy was in eleven movies. “I must say acting was good training for the political life which lay ahead of us,” said Nancy. “The movies were custard compared to politics.” Nancy was a tough woman, and was also recognized after fiercely defending her husband over the media after the failed attempt to assassinate Ronald by John Hinckley Jr. in 1981. People will remember her as an entertainer and a politician portraying the rewards of working hard in several areas.