The Crusty Conservative’s
Mrs. Nancy Reagan
First Lady of the United States of America
1981 – 1989
An Elegant First Lady & a Devoted Wife
July 6, 2013 – On this her 92nd birthday, I am extremely pleased to induct Mrs. Nancy Reagan into The Crusty Conservative’s Hall of Fame. Mrs. Reagan is the widow of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and was First Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.
Although Mrs. Reagan will long be remembered as an elegant First Lady and for organizing her “Just Say No” anti-drug abuse program, I will always remember her, rather as the brave, devoted wife of a man who was with her but at the same time not with her because of his Alzheimer’s disease.
Over the past 20+ years, my wife Pat and I have been proud supporters of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. As a result of our association with the library, we have been able to attend numerous events at the library and meet some important world political leaders including both President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan. From 1991 until 1994, the former president and first lady regularly attended (and at times participated in) many of the programs, lectures and functions at the Reagan Library.
However when President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994, he no longer visited the library or at least did not attend public functions there.Instead Mrs. Reagan became his proxy. From 1994 until late last year, Nancy Reagan attended virtually every public (and I am sure an equal number of private) functions at the library. Even after she had a fall and broke her hip, she still attended just about every event. She seldom spoke at these functions. If she did, it was a few quite, gracious words of thanks to the speakers and the attendees. Rather she would sit front row center and attentively listening to the speakers and panelists and politely applauding when appropriate.
The times when former President Reagan was confined to his home in Los Angeles and could no longer attend the events at his library, had to be particularly trying for Mrs. Reagan. Every speaker was rightfully compelled to talk, reminisce, and tell stories about the former President, Although Mr. Reagan was still alive, the speakers all inadvertently spoke of him in the past tense. As a result Mrs. Reagan was required to bravely sit there and listen to her dying husband being discussed as if he were already dead. Not once did she whimper, wipe her eye or express any grief. Instead she showed an inner strength, devotion, and bravery that would have made her Ronnie proud.
Once when a speaker thanked Mrs. Reagan for attending his speech and said that he would have understood if she had not been there. She quietly responded ”I have to be here. Ronnie can’t. I am here to represent him. If he can’t be here, then I have to be.” And as long as she could, Nancy Reagan was at Reagan Library events as Ronald Reagan’s proxy.
A Brave, Devoted and Classy Lady !
[contact send_to=”email@example.com” redirect_to=”7″ name_label=”Name” phone_label=”Phone Number” email_label=”Email” message_heading=”We appreciate your opinions. Please Enter your comments in the space provided below:” contact_info_heading=”Tell us how to get in touch with you:” submit_label=”Submit”]
The Crusty Conservative
“… individuals may injure a whole society, by not declaring their sentiments.
It is therefore not only their right, but their duty, to declare them.”
–John Dickinson, Letters of Fabius, 1788