Saturday, July 9, 2011

RIP Betty Ford

Last night, I saw an emergency update on my television telling me about the death of Betty Ford, who was President Gerald Ford's wife. She died yesterday in Rancho Mirage, where she and her husband lived, at the age of 93. Despite her brief time as a first lady, Betty Ford was made a huge impact, whether it was during her time in the White House or after her time in the White House. Betty Ford leaves behind a huge legacy.

Betty Ford was born in 1918 and went on to marry William G. Warren in 1942. They divorced after five years. She went on to marry Gerald Ford in 1948 and their marriage would last for fifty-eight years. Her husband, Gerald Ford, is most remembered for succeeding Richard Nixon in 1974 and he resigned from office. Ford gave Nixon a pardon and not much happened from there. Ford would eventually lose to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election and nearly lost in the Republican primary to Ronald Reagan (who would win the 1980 election from Carter). As for Betty Ford, she was an influential figure in her own way. She was known to be a fighter for equal rights for women. Plus despite being a Republican, Betty Ford was pro-choice, which is a stance not taken by many Republicans, especially in the 1970's. She was also an advocate for breast cancer awareness.

Betty Ford became most well known for opening up about her substance abuse and for finding a way to help others who were battling the same problems. She created the Betty Ford Center (formerly known as the Betty Ford Clinic) in 1982, after recovering from her substance abuse. She received a Presidential Medal Of Freedom from George H.W. Bush in 1991 and a Congressional Medal Of Freedom in 1999.

Gerald and Betty Ford became the first presidential couple to both live to their 90th birthday. Gerald Ford died in 2006 at the age of 93 and Betty Ford was five years younger, but the fact that both reached the age of ninety is a landmark in the history of presidential knowledge. Ronald and Nancy Reagan became the second couple to accomplish such a feat, as Nancy Reagan turned ninety just this Wednesday. Ronald Reagan died in 2004, and he also died at the age of 93.

Betty Ford's legacy with be a strong one for first ladies. Not only will her legacy be strong and memorable, but it will also be a positive legacy. A legacy of somebody overcoming an addiction and then creating something that helps solve problems like Betty Ford herself had. She believed in what she believed in and not what her husband's party told her to believe, which takes a lot of courage to do. She will go down at being a fighter for women's rights, breast cancer awareness, and a fighter against substance abuse, which she will surely be remembered by with her Betty Ford Center.

RIP Lady Ford, you will be missed.

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