Betty Ford died today at 93 years old.
A very active First Lady from 1974 to 1977, she had a huge impact on the culture at the time, and in the years that followed. She was admired for her honesty and candor.
After her 1974 battle with breast cancer, and mastectomy, she raised the awareness of the disease. She supported women's issues and feminism, supported equal pay, and the Equal Rights Amendment. She famously said that "the search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women." She also openly admitted to battling drug addiction and alcoholism, and became the founder of the Betty Ford Center, which still helps so many people today.
Although she will be remembered for many great things, she always remained humble. "I was an ordinary woman who was called onstage at an extraordinary time," she said. "I was no different once I became first lady than I had been before. But, through an accident of history, I had become interesting to people."
I always admired her. With courage and compassion, she truly felt that we are on this earth to help others - and she did.
Photograph by Anna Moore Butzner
The Grand Rapids Press, via Associated Press