Since I wasn't making informed decisions beyond what kind of baby food I liked or disliked when Gerald Ford was president, all I know of him is what I've read and what I've seen of him in his post-presidential years. Most of the media attention in the last few days has centered on ideas that he was a simple and genuine man. Stuff like he made his own breakfast, he plodded around the White House in his slippers, he loved his wife deeply, he never strived to be the president, when he was inaugurated he asked for the Michigan fight song to be played in place of Hail to the chief b/c he didn't feel deserving of the honor, and in the end he asked for no regal funeral arrangements. He was honest and yet compassionate. He pardoned Nixon to heal the country knowing it would probably cost him his high popularity ratings and a re-election bid. He constantly and repeatedly called for a blending of political ideas between the parties all the way up to the month before his death. He was a Christian man who made his children attend church until they left his house. And so much more.
Gerald Ford was the only president to have never been elected to the Vice-Presidency or the Presidency. He was chosen as Nixon's successor only after the VP resigned due to the same turmoil that would force Nixon out the door soon after. In stark contrast, he was elected to the House for 25 years as a representative from the state of Michigan. And that is what he called "...my finest years. It was in that position that I spent my happiest years as a public servant."
I watched his body being taken from his church this morning. Despite his request for no extra pomp, it filled me with pride to see our armed forces giving him the respect he deserved. They weren't putting on any airs, they were simply showing honor to their fallen commander. As his body descended the stairs of the church and then ascended the stairs of the capital this evening, even the chatty liberal-biased TV anchors shut their mouths and let the country honor this man from their living rooms. I am not ashamed to say that a tear fell from my eye as I heard his favorite hymn being played [even with the word Jesus displayed across the bottom of the screen.] Gerald Ford will be remembered for all he did for a hurt Congress, all he did for a hurt wife, and all he did for a hurt nation. He may not have served us long, but he was what we needed in that brief time. I am honored to have been born under his colors.
R.I.P. Gerald Ford