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January 04, 2007 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-04

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2C - Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

bids Ford a
quiet farewell

The Michigan Marching Band stands by as a hearse, carrying the remains of former President Gerald Ford, drives past after arriving at the Gerald R. Ford International Air-
port on Tuesday in Grand Rapids.
In his boyhood ho-me of ran
Rapids, Ford is laid orest

Capitol hosts a
simple funeral for an
understated man
Daily Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON - Thousands
gathered Saturday to say goodbye to
Gerald Ford, who first arrived in this
city 57years ago as the congressman
from Grand Rapids, a seat he would
hold until he was appointed vice
president in 1973.
Most weren't there because they
were star-struck by Ford. He was
not a larger-than-life leader like
Ronald Reagan. Instead, many
said they came out of a respect for
the common, decent man who had
mended a nation reeling from scan-
dal and war.
"It's just the right thing to do,"
said Shari McLellan, a resident of
Waterford who had been in Wash-
ington on vacation with her hus-
band, Don McLellan.
"Whoever holds this position, or
has held this position, deserves the
respect of everyone," Don McLellan
Air Force Base in Maryland through
Alexandria, Va., where he lived dur-
ing his 30 years in Congress, and
finally to the Capitol Saturday eve-
ning in a simple black hearse.
It stopped only atthe World WarII
Memorial to commemorate the Uni-
versity alum's service in the Navy.
As darkness fell on the capital
before the procession, a crowd gath-
ered at the World War II Memorial.
There, agingveterans of wars stood
with the most recent additions to
their ranksin aspecial section. They
were joined by Boy Scouts. Ford was
the only president to reach Eagle
Scout, the group's highest rank.
Later, when the motorcade
paused there, a Navy sailor came
forward and blew three notes on a
metal boatswain's pipe - a tradi-
tion called "Piping Ashore," used to
honor naval service.
The half of the memorial com-
memorating the war's Pacific the-
ater - where Ford served - was
illuminated. The half commemorat-
ing the Atlantic was not.
After stopping at the memorial,
the procession turned down Con-

stitution Avenue, a long, wide street
that had been cleared of traffic. It
rolled past the White House, the
Washington Monument, past muse-
ums and cabinet agencies. It rolled
past the Canadian Embassy, where
a banner was hung with a bilingual
goodbye for Ford.
"Farewell friend" was printed
just above "Adieu ami."
Ford's wife Betty rode in a lim-
ousine behind the car carrying her
husband's body.
A Maryland resident, Patrick
Puffy, said he would remember Mrs.
Ford along with her husband.
. "She was definitely a trendset-
ter,"he said.
Betty Ford turned heads as first
lady with her frank talk about pre-
marital sex, marijuana use and
Later, she was treated for alco-
holism and drug addiction after
being prescribed painkillers to
treat a back ailment. Her openness
about her addiction was considered
After passing thousands of
people gathered on sidewalks, the
procession reached the east front
of Capitol, where it was met by a
group of Ford's friends and col-
leagues. Among them were for-
mer Senate majority leader and
Ford running mate Bob Dole,
Rep. John Dingell, whose district
includes Ann Arbor, and former
Citigroup chief Sanford Weill, the
namesake of the new home of the
University's Ford School of Public
Later, at the state funeral in the
Capitol Rotunda, House Speaker
Dennis Hastert harkened back to
Ford's tenure as a center on the
Michigan football team in the
"President Ford was one of the
few men in history who did not need
great events to make him great," he
said"Onthefootballfield, inthehalls
of Congress and in the Oval Office,
there was always something big'and
solid - always something big and
solid and good - in Gerald Ford."
Outside the CapitoL;thousands of
people lined up to view the casket.
Among them was Trey Stevens,
who graduated from the Universi-
ty's Business School in1988. Stevens
called his fellow alum "one of the
greatest men who has been presi-
dent of the United States."

Thousands line
streets for native son's
final homecoming
Daily StaffReparter

Michigan Marching Band playing
"The Victors" and cannons firing
a 21-gun salute on the tarmac of
the Gerald R. Ford International
Airport, pall bearers returned the
body of former President Gerald
Ford to his native Grand Rapids
Tuesday afternoon after a state
funeral at the National Cathedral
in Washington.
Thousands of people, many
waving American flags and wear-
ing University apparel, lined the
streets of Grand Rapids as a motor-
cade carried Ford's coffin from the
airport to the Gerald Ford Presi-
dential Museum in downtown
Grand Rapids.
Rick and Tom Dood stood on the
side of the road with a large block
"M" flag draped over the fence in
front of them. The brothers did not
attend the University, but said Ford
was a "Michigan Man," and so it
seemed appropriate to display the
University flag.
"This is history being made for
Grand Rapids, and we want to be
part of that history," Tom Dood said.
A private memorial service
was held for the Ford family and
guests when the coffin arrived at
the museum Tuesday afternoon.
There, University President Mary
Sue Coleman placed a wreath on
Ford's coffin to honor the Universi-
ty's best known alum.
Ford was buried on the grounds of
his presidential museum yesterday.
He always expressed a deep love
for his hometown of Grand Rapids.

arrive, credits the former president
with potentially saving his life. In
1968, at the height of the Tet Offen-
sive, Kuiper's Army Reserves medi-
cal unit was scheduled to depart for
a tour of duty in Vietnam. Kuiper
and his fellow soldiers appealed to
then-Congressman Ford for assis-
"Ford intervened on our behalf
and kept our unit stateside," Kuiper
Ford realized that the departure
of the unit would have devastated
the Grand Rapids Hospital, where
manyofthe men inhis unitworked.
He had arranged for a unit from
Cincinnati go instead, Kuiper said.
Paul Schulte, who graduated
fromthe University in 1959, brought
his young grandson with him to
visit Ford's coffin. Schulte said his
5-year-old son wrote a condolence
letter to Ford after he lost the 1976
election to Jimmy Carter, and he
was surprised to receive a detailed
thank-you note back from the Ford
White House.
For Kinesiology junior Jessica
Cox, one of the 150 members of
the Michigan Marching Band who
played when the president's coffin
arrived at the airport, participating
in the funeral of a former president
was a great honor.
"You can never get an honor
greater than this," Cox said. "It's
a big deal and I just wanted to be a
part of it."
Cox and the other members of
the marching band flew directly to
Grand Rapids from California after
playing at the Rose Bowl. She said
despite being awake for 48 hours,
members of the band were proud to
play for the president.
"(The mood) wasn't as sad as
I thought it was going to be," she
said. "We were all proud to be

A group of mourners gather to look at mementos left in front of the sign for the Ger-
aId Ford Museum in Grand Rapids on Tuesday. Among the tokens were American
flags and Michigan paraphernalia.

He grew up there and represented
the city in Congress for 25 years
before serving as vice president and
then president. Even after retiring
to California, Ford often thought of
his hometown. "When I wake up
at night and can't sleep, I remem-
ber Grand Rapids," Ford said in an
interview with the New York Daily
News in May.
The people of Grand Rapids
seemed to love Ford, too.
Thousands ofthem were eager to

pay their final respects to the city's
native son. According to estimates
from the military, which arranged
the ceremonies, more than 57,000
people filed past Ford's coffin dur-
ing the overnight visitation to bid
farewell to the only president who
called Michigan home.
Some of those who paid their
respects said Ford directly touched
their lives.
Don Kuiper, who waited out-
side the airport for Ford's casket to

rNation's mourning
begins at Ford's
California church
Family says goodbye brother, Gerald, for burial," said
the church rector, the Rev. Robert
in first of six days Certain.
Mrs. Ford, clutching the arm of
of services an Army general, stood in silence
for a few moments after the casket
PALMDESERT,Calif.(AP)-Borne was laid before a blond-wood altar
by eight U.S. servicemen in crisp and three wreaths of white flow-

Former President Gerald Ford at a Humor and the Presidency Conference in Grand
Rapids in1986.

dress uniforms, Gerald R. Ford's
flag-draped casket was carried
past his widow into their home-
town church Friday for a public
viewing that marked the start of
six days of mourning for the for-
mer president.
Former first lady Betty Ford, 88,
stood atop the broad steps of St.
Margaret's Episcopal Church to
receive the casket. A Marine Corps
band struck up "Hail to the Chief"
as the coffin of the Navy veteran of
World War II was removed from a
hearse, then played the hymn "O
God Our Help in Ages Past" as the
military pallbearers, moving in
lockstep, made the slow climb to
the doors of the white-columned
"We receive the body of our

Then she led other family mem-
bers to the Presidents Pew, where
she and her husband sat nearly
every Sunday after leaving the
White House in 1977.
A private family service was fol-
lowed by a visitation for invited
friends, including former Secre-
tary of State George Shultz, for-
mer Rep. Jack Kemp and former
California Gov. Pete Wilson. When
it ended, Mrs. Ford left in a motor-
cade to return to the Ford home
in the neighboring city of Rancho
A public viewing of Ford's closed
casket was expected to draw thou-
sands to the resort community 110
miles east of Los Angeles late Fri-
day afternoon.

From page 1C
action was indicative of his moder-
ate Republican leanings. Both he
and his wife, Betty Ford, were sup-
porters of abortion rights. In 1976,
Ford faced a primary challenge
from the more conservative Ronald
Reagan, whom he defeated.
Ford did not attend a single social
event at the White House during
Reagan's eight years in office.
He survived two assassination
attempts in September 1975.
It was Ford who presided over
the removal of the last American
troops from Vietnam in April 1975.
After the fall of Saigon, Ford called
on Americans to put the nation's
first real military defeat behind
"I ask that we stop refighting

the battles and the recriminations
of the past," he said in a speech at
Tulane University in 1975. "I ask
that we look now at what is right
with America, at our possibilities
and our potentialities for change
and growth and achievement and
sharing. I ask that we accept the
responsibilities of leadership as a
good neighbor to all peoples and
the enemy of none."
Ford echoed Abraham Lincoln's
second inaugural address, saying
"the time has come to look forward
to an agendaforthefuture, tounify,
to bind up the nation's wounds, and
to restore its health and its opti-
mistic self-confidence."
Ford is survived by his wife
Betty, his daughter Susan and his
sons Michael, John and Steven.
Plans for a memorial at the
University have not yet been

An honor guard rehearses for former President Gerald R. Ford's memorial service
with an empty casket in Palm Desert, Calif. last week.

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