Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was laid to rest yesterday, so it is only fitting to honor her legacy as one of the most influential First Ladies in American history. The month of March is women’s history month in which we honor the tremendous women throughout history.

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was laid to rest yesterday, so it is only fitting to honor her legacy as one of the most influential First Ladies in American history. The month of March is women’s history month in which we honor the tremendous women throughout history. This year’s theme is “working to form a more perfect union: honoring women in public service and government.”  Nancy Reagan was the epitome of a public servant. Sadly, the passing of Nancy Reagan marks the end of a conservative era, but her influence is sure to be felt for generations to come. 

 Nancy was not only a fierce guardian of her husband, but was prolific in her own right. Nancy is a testament that one great woman can change the world for the better. 

Although it appeared that Nancy was behind her husband’s shadow, she was much more than that. Nancy had her own affect outside of her husband’s presidency. Her “Just Say No” campaign brought to light the struggles of alcohol and drug addiction that many Americans struggled with. After watching her husband struggle with Alzheimer’s and his long, drawn out death, “the long goodbye,” she became an advocate for finding a cure for the disease that eventually took her precious “Ronnie” . You see, Nancy was much more than just the wife of President Ronald Reagan, she was an icon in her own right. 

Missouri is home to many influential women who have in some way changed our world for the better. Just like Nancy, Julia Grant, the wife of president Ulysses Grant, was a prolific first lady as well. She is often referred to as the Civil War’s road warrior. She travelled over 10,000 miles in the four years that her husband served as president. She faced the same risks as her husband on the road to defeat slavery: disease, death and capture. She didn’t let that stop her. In the same way as Nancy Reagan, she didn’t strive to take the spotlight away from her husband. It wasn’t about getting the recognition for something. They both just genuinely were passionate about what they were doing. 

Within the 8th district of Missouri, there are several examples of strong women that have made an impact on our world. Lucy Wortham James was a philanthropist who preserved Meramec Spring, which is one of Missouri’s most beloved natural landmarks. Women all over the country have Missourians like Edna Gellhourn to thank for having the right to vote. She helped form the National League of Women Voters and served as the league’s first vice president. Gellhourn was a champion of equal rights. She is among many like Sarah Barton Murphy who is credited with being the true founder of Farmington. She brought education and religion to Farmington.

These women and Nancy Reagan used their position of power for much more than fame and self-gain. They used their ability to serve others in our country. 

My mother was a strong woman who had a profound effect on my own life. She was a wife, mother, entrepreneur and factory worker who instilled in me the characteristics of leadership and hard work. I can thank her for any success I have achieved and an attitude to put others first. 

Today, we honor Mrs. Reagan and strong women across this great nation. May your legacy live on and your example inspire more woman to help lead our country.