|Former US President Ford laid to rest in Michigan
[ 2007-01-04 10:01 ]
|The late U.S. President Gerald Ford has been laid to
rest at his presidential museum in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan,
following a private service at a local church. VOA's Michael Bowman
reports, tens of thousands of well-wishers joined a long list of
dignitaries for a final farewell to America's 38th
It is perhaps fitting that a president often
praised for his humility and unpretentiousness was remembered by his
family, longtime friends and colleagues at a simple brick church several
miles from Gerald Ford's boyhood home.
Two of the late president's sons read bible passages, and three
grandchildren offered prayers as his wife, Betty Ford, looked on from the
first row of pews.
Former Defense Secretary Ronald Rumsfeld, who also served in the Ford
administration, reminded the congregation of the turmoil that had engulfed
America when Gerald Ford assumed the presidency from his disgraced
predecessor, Richard Nixon, in 1974.
"Many here remember what our country was like on the day that Gerald
Ford took the presidency," he said. "The pressures were enormous. The
stakes were high. The world was watching. And the American people were
holding their breath, wondering what would happen next. The words
President Ford used to reassure our country and the American people were
plain, and they were straightforward. His sincerity gave them eloquence.
Even in a country coarsened by skepticism, few doubted that the gentleman
from Michigan would keep his word."
Gerald Ford was America's only president never to have been elected to
either the presidency or the vice presidency. Running to retain the office
in 1976, the Republican Ford was narrowly defeated by Democrat Jimmy
Mr. Carter journeyed to Grand Rapids and paid tribute to his former
political opponent and the friendship they forged over the last 30 years.
"You learn a lot about a man when you run against him for president and
when you stand in his shoes and assume the responsibilities that he has
borne so well," he said. "Jerry and I frequently agreed that one of the
greatest blessings that we had after we left the White House was the
intense personal friendship that bound us together. And Jerry never came
to the Washington area without being invited to have lunch with me at the
White House. As president, I relished his sound advice. And he often,
although I must say, reluctantly, departed from the prevailing opinion of
his political party to give me support on some of my most difficult
Gerald Ford, who lived to be 93, was buried at his
presidential museum, where, before the funeral service, his casket lay in
public repose for 18 hours. More than 57,000 people braved near-freezing
temperatures to wait as long as six hours to pass by his casket. Ever
since the late president's body arrived in Grand Rapids, tens of thousands
of people have lined the streets in quiet reverence to view the hearse
carrying his remains.
As one resident said with pride and great emotion, "America needs to
acknowledge a hero."
pew : 教堂长椅