This past week, on March 6, 2016, a remarkable woman in our country's history died at the age of 93. After hearing about this former First Lady's death, and after doing a little research on her life and legacy, I was blown away by how strong-willed and loyal this woman was, but also by her beautiful story.
Nancy Reagan is remembered for the issues she championed, but perhaps her greatest legacy was her unconditional love for her husband. Former First Lady and President of the United States, Ronald and Nancy Reagan lived in love until death did them part. Their story is one that seems to be straight out of a movie, so does it surprise anyone that it actually was?
Before her husband made history in politics, before her famous "just say no" to drugs campaign soared, before she ever set foot in the White House, Nancy Reagan was Nancy Davis and she was a lady of Hollywood. 1948 to 1962 were her years on the big screen. She appeared in movies and television shows alike, often playing the role of a loving and loyal wife, which is the position she would be remembered for off-screen.
Nancy and Ronald met for the first time on the set of a film called Hellcats of the Navy, where they play lovers in the midst of World War II. After that, the two were inseparable. They were married in 1952 and stayed happily married for more than fifty years before our former President died of Alzheimer disease in 2004.
Indeed, their love was true and real, confirmed by any single person who knew them. Nancy went so far as to say (many different times in many different ways) that her life had not really "begun" until she met Ronald. Likewise, Ronald Reagan felt the same exact way for her. He wrote her many love letters throughout their life. On their 8th wedding anniversary, Ronald wrote to her, saying,
"Thanks to you, I'm just eight years old today."
On their 11th anniversary, he wrote,
"I wonder how I lived at all for all the three hundred and sixty fives before I met you."
And on their 31st anniversary,
"I more than love you, I am not whole without you. You are life itself to me."
Nancy once said of her meeting Ronald for the first time,
"He wasn't like any other actor I knew - or anyone in the movie business. He didn't talk about himself. He didn't talk about his movies. He talked about a lot of things, but not about 'my next picture, my next picture...' He was a Civil War buff, loved horses, and knew a lot about wine. In fact, he had a broad knowledge of a lot of things. I loved to listen to him talk. I loved his sense of humor. I saw it clearly that very first night: He was everything that I wanted."
With Nancy Reagan's very recent passing, it's lovely to know that she and her soul mate are together again. With a life and story like one found in Hollywood, the two make it inspiring to know that love like the ones we see in movies really does exist. Maybe someday we'll all love somebody the way Nancy loved Ronald, and Ronald loved Nancy; deeply, truly, and unconditionally. They will both be missed by each individual and by an entire nation.