I watched today the ceremonies commemorating the death of our 38th President Gerald R Ford, and was stuck by the dignity and grace of Mrs. Ford during the Eulogies for her husband, whom she married in 1948 a marriage of 59 years. Most people may have known Mrs. Ford for her work after the Presidency founding the Betty Ford Center, but she is a strong woman, who has endured so much in her life, and lives today as a pillar of strength and courage for a country who has lost another leader. That power from a woman who at 89 years old still shows American’s everywhere that there is a special presence to the office of the President, and it’s relatively few occupants and families who have shared it. I was truly inspired and it is through her grieving eyes our country pays it final respects to the President.
A breast cancer survivor and a person who bravely battled the demons of dependency, from alcohol to pills. She is the living remembrance of a time forgotten by many, who helped lead the country back from a troubled time, and showed us today what she showed the country back then, a compassionate and caring woman, who has just lost her best friend. A person from the Midwest knows this instinctively, but today a new generation got to see it up close, and how fortunate we were to have Betty and Gerald Ford in our history.
It was not lost upon me as well, seeing her looking proudly on as her husbands casket was carried into the Capital Building. I have always thought of the Ford’s as more common people, having the office of President thrust upon them in 1974, and serving for only 896 days. I also recalled how only a few weeks after becoming the First Lady, she had a mastectomy performed on her. She demonstrated great courage through that and her other problems as well, and today though frail and older she showed us a new courage again.
I was never a big fan of Gerald Ford when he was our President, but through his long life after the Presidency, I was allowed to get to know Mr. and Mrs. Ford a little better. That time has made me change my opinion of Gerald R. Ford, and I believe much of that credit comes from his wife Betty Ford, through the many years after they left the White House and culminating with today’s funeral ceremony, Mrs. Ford I was moved watching you today and offer my condolences and deepest respect on this day we said goodbye to our President, and your husband. God Speed and may God Bless you.
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