Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rest in peace, Mr. President: Gerald R. Ford, 1913-2006

As someone who lives not far from Gerald Ford's longtime hometown of Grand Rapids, I was saddened to learn of the passing of President Ford last night.

Ford was a very decent Republican who took office when the nation yearned for his leadership after the resignation of Richard Nixon. His brand of honesty and humility is very rare in today's Republican Party.

Here is what some prominent figures have to say about our 38th President:

"A man of highest integrity, his life-long dedication to helping others touched the lives of countless people. An outstanding statesman, he wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time in our nation's history. He frequently rose above politics by emphasizing the need for bipartisanship and seeking common ground on issues critical to our nation. I will always cherish the personal friendship we shared. Rosalynn and I extend our heartfelt sympathy to Betty and the entire Ford family during this time of grief." -President Jimmy Carter

"Gerald Ford brought Americans together during a difficult chapter in our history with strength, integrity, and humility. All Americans should be grateful for his life of service; he served our nation well. To his great credit, he was the same hard-working, down-to-earth person the day he left the White House as he was when he first entered Congress almost 30 years earlier." -President and Senator Bill and Hillary Clinton

"Gerald Ford and I came from different sides of the aisle, but we forged a wonderful friendship as we served Michigan together in the House of Representatives. When his nation called on him to serve this country in the most difficult of times, he rose up and held the country together. It will certainly be his legacy." -Representative John Dingell of Dearborn

"Gerald Ford was deeply respected on both sides of the political aisle for his fairness, his bipartisanship, and his integrity. He helped smooth out the rough edges of politics. Over time, we will honor his memory in many ways, but one immediate way is to return the Gerald Ford quality of civility to the nation’s capital." -Senator Carl Levin

"The nation has lost a president, but Michigan has lost a native son who honored us with his service to our state and the nation. President Ford's leadership and decency were exhibited throughout his life, from the University of Michigan where he was a championship athlete, to the halls of Congress where he served with great distinction, and later to the presidency where he helped heal the nation during one of the most difficult periods of our history. Those of us in the Great Lakes State mourn his loss, and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to Mrs. Ford, his children, and his entire family." -Governor Jennifer Granholm


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