The recent death of Nancy Reagan has rekindled memories of a presidency passed, when the “Reagan Revolution” reshaped American politics. After four years of a Democratic presidency, Ronald Reagan came in looking to change the way Americans’ attitudes were toward their country, their government and the world. Reagan entered the White House in January 1981 promising to restore Americans’ faith in their nation and themselves, to shrink “Big Government,” and to defend America more aggressively, especially against the Soviet Union.
Nancy Reagan also redefined the role of First Lady. She restored glamour to the White House following years of a lack of formality. She also received a lot of attention for her taste in high-end fashion. Her major initiative as First Lady was founding the “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign. Following President Reagan’s 1994 diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease, Nancy also went on to take a very public stand in support of stem cell research.
People still love the Reagans for what they stood for and what they did for America during his two terms in office.
These are just a few of the reasons that people like Joy Bellizzi of Altus still love the Reagans. “I still think he was the greatest president we have ever had,” said Bellizzi. “He was an American Wonderman.”
Bellizzi has several pieces of Regan memorabilia, but her most prized piece is a painting that was done by her granddaughter Emily’s husband, Craig Featherstone.
“He is a Reagan fan too,” said Bellizzi. “After looking at my cards and other Reagan items, he said that he would do a painting for me,” she explained. “I think that this painting is just beautiful and shows the Reagans in a very positive light. I’m so pleased that he painted it for me.” She has the painting prominently displayed in the foyer of her home.
Featherstone is an art teacher at Harding University in Searcy, Ark. He did the painting for Bellizzi about two years ago, and surprisingly, the photo that he used as inspiration for the painting is featured on this week’s cover of People Magazine.
Emily and Craig live in Littlerock, Ark. Emily is the daughter of Bobby and Victoria Crews. Victoria is the daughter of Joy and husband Frank of Altus.
“I just think that Reagan was the epitome of what a president should be,” said Joy. “He was a good president, smart and a good person.”
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