COMMENTARY

President Obama Pays Respect To Nancy Reagan

“This past week, we lost an American icon and one of the most influential figures of her time – former First Lady Nancy Reagan,” the President said at opening of his weekly address.

Photo Credit: The White House.
Photo Credit: The White House.

He noted that Nancy Reagan was born in New York City and raised mostly in Chicago.

He also said Nancy Davis graduated from Smith College in 1943 and as an actress appeared in 11 films.

Moreover, he said, off-screen, she starred in a real-life Hollywood romance with the love of her life, Ronald Reagan, whom she married in 1952.

“As President, I know just how important it is to have a strong life partner, and President Reagan was as lucky as I am. Nancy Reagan redefined the role of First Lady of the United States. In addition to serving as a trusted advisor to her husband, and an elegant hostess for our nation, she was a passionate advocate for issues that touched the lives of so many. She raised awareness about drug and alcohol abuse. She was a staunch supporter of America’s veterans. And after her own battle with breast cancer and a mastectomy, she spoke in personal terms about the need for women to get mammograms,” he declared.

The President posited that the American people were deeply moved by the love Nancy felt for her husband and were inspired by how, in their long goodbye, Nancy became a voice on behalf of millions of families experiencing the depleting, aching reality of Alzheimer’s disease.

“She brought her characteristic intelligence and focus to the twin causes of stem cell research and Alzheimer’s research. And when I signed an order to resume federal stem cell research, I was proud that she was one of the first phone calls I made. Nobody understood better than Nancy Reagan the importance of pursuing treatments that hold the potential and the promise to improve and save lives,” added the President.

He said his administration had announced last year the Precision Medicine Initiative to advance the ability to tailor health care and treat diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s by accounting for individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles.

In addition, he said last month his administration took new actions to foster more collaboration between researchers, doctors, patients, data systems, and beyond to accelerate precision medicine.

The president declared that more than 40 organizations have stepped up with new commitments in this cutting-edge field. He also said the launch of the BRAIN initiative will revolutionize the understanding of how the human brain works.

He praised the tireless efforts of people like Nancy Reagan and said he was not only optimistic that very soon every single patient would be able to get the care they need and deserve, but also that one day a cure for devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s maybe found.

Davy Desmond, Readers Bureau, Fellow

Edited by Jesus Chan

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