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Saturday, December 30, 2006

America Salutes President Gerald R. Ford

With the ceremony and respect a former President of the United States deserves America is laying to rest the man that saved us from the horrors of a former President that lost his way. President Ford was a great statesman and a good friend to many people on both sides of the political isle. In hind sight most political analysts honestly believe that no other politician and leader could have accomplished what he did for the nation.

Now we salute a proud servant and a great American President by saying our last goodbyes with the dignity and respect he and his family deserve.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Dec. 30 — After a ceremony of minimal pomp, a presidential jet bearing the body of Gerald R. Ford soared Saturday morning toward a rising sun and headed for Washington, where the former president will lie in state beneath the Capitol rotunda and be honored with a state funeral.

A 30-car motorcade pulled to the side of an Air Force 747 — one of the planes normally designated as Air Force One when the president is aboard — and was flanked by ceremonial troops from the four branches of the military and the Coast Guard. For this mission, the 747 was designated Special Air Mission 29000 — a reference to the tail number used by all presidential jets.

Mr. Ford’s widow, Betty, 88, was the last family member to emerge from the vehicles and, wearing dark sunglasses against the sunshine and a black dress and blazer, stood on the arm of Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swan III, the commanding general of the joint military task force who has escorted her through the funeral proceedings that began with a private church service on Friday.


More than a dozen family members walked to the aircraft and climbed a staircase to board, but Mrs. Ford returned to the Lincoln Continental sedan that had ferried her to the airport. She was driven to the other side of the plane where, largely out of camera view, she climbed into a wheelchair and was pushed up a ramp to board the plane. - New York Times

I was watching the live coverage of President Ford’s casket arriving at the Capitol on the television this evening and the commentators did a great job at CBS. Recalling facts and quotes of the late President were right on the money for the coverage. Bob Schiefer, who covered President Ford while he was President gave some great anecdotes and comments of the President when he was in office. One fact I did not know was that President Ford and President Carter became close friends after they were both out of office. So much so that they made a personal pact that whomever passed away first that the other would speak at the service for the other. If these two political adversaries could find a friendship then we as Americans need to find the friendships across the isle. Lessons of life I guess.

Our nations nightmare is over. Words that President Ford spoke so many years ago that at the time were just a band aid on the political scene that was America then. This American from the Liberal side of the political isle thanks him for his service and wonders out loud where the Statesman like him are today?


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