When she placed a small hand on the coffin of her Ronnie, millions of Americans watched and shared in the grief of Nancy Reagan. The feeling that we knew of the incredible bond between husband and wife overshadowed all the pomp and circumstance of the state funeral for the 40th president of the United States.
After Ronald Reagan’s brave acknowledgment of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis, the former president took an even more emotional place in the hearts of the people who had twice elected him to America’s highest office. But in caring for her husband and then crusading after his death for better treatments of Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy Reagan also earned the greater devotion of the nation.
Her death at the age of 94 leaves a remarkable legacy, not just as the wife and partner of a great man but as an American original — Hollywood glamour transmuted into the world of politics, raffish actors and California characters in the White House.
We don’t know if we shall ever see someone like her again, but the trip was an extraordinary one that Americans across the political divide now cherish.