Widow to Ronald Reagan and former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, died of congestive heart failure in her Los Angeles home on Sunday, March 6, 2016.
The female icon passed away at the age of 94. Her spokesperson announced that she is supposed to be buried at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, next to her husband. Although details have not yet been announced, her spokesperson also informed the press that there will be an opportunity for the public to pay their respects at the Reagan Library to the famed and former First Lady.
Reagan’s death was not a surprise to those closest to her. After her husband’s death in 2004, the widow suffered several falls. In May 2012, a medical report disclosed that she had broken several ribs after a particularly bad fall while at home in her house in Los Angeles. In light of this, both family members and friends publicly acknowledged that Reagan retired to a better place.
On Twitter, her stepson Michael Reagan wrote, “Nancy is where she has always wanted to be with her Ronnie… Now she is at peace…”
Being an honorary Girl Scout and face of the “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign, millions of other people have taken to social media to express their grief at the loss of this influential woman. As a fierce anti-drug advocate, Reagan touched the lives of thousands of American adolescents with the D.A.R.E program. Students today still feel the effects of her attempts at reform.
Senior Amy Williamson said, “As a high school senior who knows about parties where drugs are frequent, I am extremely thankful for the knowledge that I gained through the D.A.R.E program. They educated me at a young age about taking precautions with drugs. I watched many of my peers fall prey to these temptations, which only reinforced what I learned from my parents and the program. It’s a shame we have lost such a strong advocate for the ‘Just Say No’ cause.”
Reagan’s tenacity and accomplishments date back to her early life, before she was the First Lady of the United States. Although she came from humble beginnings, she created an artistic and independent life for herself.
She was born on July 6, 1921 to a broken household with the legal name Anne Frances Robbins. As a young child, she adopted the nickname Nancy. After her parents’ divorce, her mother remarried Dr. Loyal Davis and moved the family to Chicago. As soon as she was settled in the Midwest, Anne Robbins took her stepfather’s last name and became known as Nancy Davis.
After completing her rudimentary schooling at a Chicago private school, Davis attended Smith College where she majored in drama. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she became an actress in Hollywood. It was there that she met her husband Ronald, actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild, whom she contacted after being listed as a communist sympathizer during the 1950’s Red Scare.
On March 4, 1952, Davis, formerly Anne Frances Robbins, became Nancy Davis Reagan. From that point on, America grew fascinated with “the love story of the century” between the two figureheads.
For much of her husband’s presidency, and especially after the assassination attempt on his life, the American public felt deeply involved in the romance and devotion between the two former actors. Although they had once made a living based on the art of pretense, there was nothing superficial about their passion for each other. It was this light and liveliness that, even today, draws Americans to this revered, former First Lady.
Senior Matthew Maiolo said, “Nancy Reagan was a role model and inspiration to the country, from her selfless devotion in her marriage, to her social work campaigns to end drug abuse with D.A.R.E. She will be dearly missed.”
In the days since her passing, members of all different communities and ages have shared stories about the famed Reagan. Some remarked on her talents as an anti-drug advocate among the American youth, a few acknowledged her artistic talent, and others told stories of her political dignity and grace. However, the majority of all people remembered her for what she had always been: Mrs. Ronald Reagan.
Despite her passing, Nancy Reagan will live on through her reform programs like D.A.R.E.
As high school students, how has this program affected your life?