Nancy Reagan, the beloved wife of Ronald Reagan, died this morning at age 94 of congestive heart failure at her home in Bel-Air where she lived for thirty years. It is said that without Nancy Reagan, there never would have been a President Reagan. Theirs was a great love story and you’d rarely find a picture of them where they weren’t holding hands.
She brought elegance, style and grace to the White House.
Nancy followed Rosalynn Carter as First Lady who attended cabinet meetings. Ronald Reagan was asked what Nancy would be doing as First Lady and he said she would not be attending cabinet meetings. The reporter asked what her mission would be, he said, “Well, me.”
Her influence on the president was mostly to protect her husband. After he was shot, she was traumatized and worried constantly about his safety. She didn’t get involved much in the affairs of the West Wing in general though she was the impetus for a couple high-profile firings.
There was one purple suit Reagan wore that she really didn’t like and tried to talk him out of wearing. Once on Air Force One, she tried to talk him out of the suit but he said he liked it and wanted to wear it. She said do you want to know what the staff says about your suit. He responded by turning to an aide and said tell me what the staff says. The aide said, If he had to be shot, why couldn’t he have been shot wearing that suit.
Daughter of a conservative, she lived to help her husband achieve his goals and their joint goals were to rid the world of the evil Soviet empire.
One of the most important jobs of a First Lady is to arrange State dinners and it was one dinner in particular that made history.
The most momentous of these dinners was held on December 8, 1987 in honor of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife, Raisa. Secretary Gorbachev was in Washington for the summit meeting that would ultimately result in the signing of the INF Treaty, and this was the first visit by a Soviet leader to Washington since Nikita Khrushchev in 1959. It was the most significant and highly anticipated of the many state dinners Mrs. Reagan had arranged, and required careful planning. Mrs. Reagan asked renowned pianist Van Cliburn to perform. In 1958, Cliburn had won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the first American to have done so. His performance of a Rachmaninoff piece and a rendition of “Moscow Nights” was received with great enthusiasm from the Soviet delegation, especially Secretary Gorbachev. Mrs. Reagan would later say that the dinner was one of the great evenings of her husband’s presidency.
It is said that is when the Cold War ended.
The main focus of Reagan’s presidency was to end the reign of communism. Unfortunately, statism is back on the rise.
This documentary was narrated by Reagan.
Nancy Reagan was First Lady from 1981 not 1989.
Nancy Reagan was born Anne Frances Robbins; July 6, 1921. Her father left the family when she was young. Her mother remarried and her stepfather adopted her. She changed her name to Nancy Davis. She made eleven movies and met Ronnie when he was president of the Screen Actors’ Guild.
She published her memoir, My Turn, in 1989 and published the love letters from Ronnie ten years later.
Nancy Davis had been active in the anti-drug movement. Her slogan was “Just say ‘No'” which turned into DARE education in the schools. As an educator, I can tell you the DARE program was terrific!
Nancy Reagan in a movie trailer in 1953, one year after she married Ronnie. They were married 52 years and had two children.
We thank you for the memories Nancy.