Our nation was graced with the presence of Betty Ford in the White House as First Lady of the United States during the presidency of Gerald Ford.
As her official White House biography notes: "She did not hesitate to state her views on controversial issues such as the Equal Rights Amendment, which she strongly supported" along with the right for women to make their own decisions regarding abortion.
Her passing today at the age of 93 should give us pause to thank God for all her accomplishments.
Perhaps her two most lasting contributions to our nation where personal and not political.
As First Lady, she publicly fought breast cancer during a time that the disease was seen as a social stigma. Her public fight brought awareness to breast cancer - and other forms of cancer as well - and helped people become more accepting of those fighting the disease.
She also waged a public battle with alcoholism and addiction, and later helped launch the Betty Ford Clinic. Once again, she fought the stigma of a disease and offered millions hope.
Mrs. Ford will be remembered as a great American who advanced the rights of women and helped the nation recover after the wounds of Watergate.
"While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life," said President Obama this evening.
Photo Credit: Official White House portrait