I’m honored to say that President Ford and I share the hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As I write this, just a few miles away from my condo, the Gerald R. Ford Museum is feverishly preparing to bring him home one last time.
As the news broadcasts from the TV in the background I’m hearing announcements about the official funeral and burial schedule, friends sending their condolences, and people sobbing through interviews as they share a memory of “their boy Jerry” as he was affectionately known. Almost everyone has a fond memory of an experience with him or one of the family.
If you remember the angst the country was feeling as the Nixon administration exited the white house, you probably know that Ford’s presence was exactly what the doctor ordered. Much work needed to be done to rebuild the trust of the nation.
He stood up and pardoned Nixon from his crimes as a wise father might say, “It’s time to forgive and forget”. And even though you may have disagreed with his decision there was something about his character, his values and his calming presence that made it just a little easier to swallow.
And with that, I bid my own farewell to President Ford. Thank you for the memories and for making me proud to share Grand Rapids with you. Thank you for carrying us through some trying times. Welcome home! We’re proud to have you back home with us.