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And then along came Nancy

“And then along came Nancy.” (Ronald Reagan’s affectionate tribute to his wife Nancy regarding her incredible influence on his life.)

Nancy Reagan was First Lady of the United States from 1981-1989. With the announcement of her death, I am devoting this blog to a brief commentary of what others are saying about her. Notably, she loved her husband, she loved her country, and she loved the color red.  

Nancy Reagan was a very forceful First Lady, often behind the scenes. She will be remembered for her complete devotion to her husband, Ronald Reagan, his fiercest protector and closest advisor.

Her relationship with her husband:

In the history of presidential marriages you have Dolly & James Madison, Abigail & John Adams, and Nancy & Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan were a team. That relationship was the foundation of Ronald Reagan’s success as president. They genuinely preferred to be with each other more than with anyone else.

 George Will marveled, “They were the most married couple I have ever met. They would be sitting together in a room, and Ronald Reagan would write her love notes across the room.” They genuinely were a team. Theirs was a marriage for the ages. 

Author Katy Marton’s summary statement is superb: “By the end of their remarkable partnership…Ronnie and Nancy had effectively fused into a single persona, completing each other almost seamlessly.” 

Her impact on history:

Because of Nancy, Ronald Reagan ran for office. He traveled from being an actor in Hollywood to being Governor of California to being the President of the United States. When you look at the outcome, that relationship was THE foundation of Ronald Reagan’s success as president.

She and her husband shared a friendship with Margaret Thatcher. This three-person partnership influenced his most enduring legacy, the easing of the Cold War tensions.

State Dinners at the White House received her full attention. The events were viewed with purpose, and outcomes were evaluated. Nancy meticulously oversaw the seating chart, for she believed the seating was crucial to what would be accomplished in the evening. 

When the Gorbachev’s came to dinner, Mrs. Reagan had Van Cliburn play ‘Moscow Nights’ and Mikhail Gorbachev began to sing. Robert Shultz, Secretary of State, described this as a very special moment when The Cold War crumbled. 

Her famous quote:

In her fight against drug and alcohol abuse among America’s youth, Nancy Reagan urged, 
“So, to my young friends out there, life can be great, but not when you can’t see it. So open your eyes to life, to see it in the vivid colors that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest and to make it count. Say yes to your life. And when it comes to drugs and alcohol, Just say NO.”

Question: What do you find remarkable from the life of Nancy Reagan?

James Baker, Chief of Staff to Ronald Reagan
Bret Bayer, Fox News anchor
John Bolton, Former Ambassador to the UN
Fox News Coverage, Sunday March 5, 2014, Sunday House Call, Media Buzz, America’s News Headquarters
Adam Hously, Senior correspondent, Fox News
Katy Marton, Hidden Power, Presidential Marriages that Shaped Our History
Bill Novak, co-author My Turn, The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan
Ed Rollins, former principle White House advisor to President Reagan
Fred Ryan, Reagan Foundation, president
Sheila Tate, former press secretary to Mrs. Reagan
George Will, political analyst, Fox News contributor
Youtube/CNN: 1986: Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just say no’ campaign