Remembering those who stood before us

Sharon Rossie

Every week, NPRI President Sharon Rossie writes a column for NPRI's week-in-review email. If you are not getting our emails, which contain our latest commentaries and news stories, you can sign up here to receive them.


You learn something out of everything, and you come to realize more than ever that we're all here for a certain space of time, and then it's going to be over, and you better make this count. — Nancy Reagan

We will miss you, Nancy Reagan.

She was truly a first lady for the ages. Her devotion to the cause of liberty was eclipsed only by the love she had for her husband. And, in many ways, Ronald Reagan’s achievements as President of the United States were made possible by the storybook romance he and Nancy shared in their private lives.

The spring of love Ronald and Nancy shared was a source of confidence for the nation. As first lady, Nancy’s confidence in her husband gave him the conviction he needed to, literally, take on the world. Together, the two of them worked to advance liberty during a period in history plagued by totalitarianism, communism and overbearing government intrusion.

And they succeeded.

But Nancy’s sphere of influence was not limited only to her husband. Even as her dear Ronnie neared the end of his life, she continued to personify the grace and dignity for which she had been known as First Lady. She continued to stand strong for her convictions, always articulating her belief in individual rights, personal responsibility and expanded freedoms.

Sadly, today we say goodbye to this influential woman as she is laid to rest at the Reagan Presidential Library.

We at NPRI send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and everyone who worked with her.

Closer to home, we are experiencing a loss of our own.

Dick Young was a former board member at NPRI, and sadly we learned about his passing as well this last week. Often described as a quiet and humble man — though still commanding and resolute when necessary — Dick had a resounding passion and enthusiasm for limited government.

When Judy Cresanta first launched NPRI, Dick was there fighting beside her as she battled the IRS for our tax-exempt status. Just as we’ve seen in recent years, the machinery of government is often used as a political tool by entrenched special interests, and it was no different in the late 1980s and early 1990s when NPRI was just being formed.

But Dick refused to allow such overwhelming forces to intimidate Judy, or NPRI.  

“There are things far worse than war, and surrender is one of them,” he once said.

In the years that followed, he worked with Judy to overcome legal threats from special interests, harassment from lawmakers and outrage from advocates of big government. His devotion to our shared ideals left a permanent mark on our history.

On behalf of everyone at NPRI, we send our thoughts and our prayers to Dick’s family and friends.

Indeed, Nancy was right when she said that we’re all here for a limited time. As members of the liberty movement, it’s up to us to make it count.

Those before us certainly have.

Warm regards,

Sharon J. Rossie
NPRI President and staff 

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