I just watched the service inaugurating the viewing of President Gerald R. Ford in the U.S. Capitol. The speeches by Speaker Dennis Hastert and Vice President Richard Cheney were appropriate.
I reside in Ford’s Congressional district. Much of Grand Rapids honors the man; we host the Ford Museum, the Ford International Airport, and the Gerald R. Ford freeway (I-196). I was even born during his adminstration.
Cheney and Hastert echoed similar themes — that over the history of the American Republic, Providence has blessed us with the right man for the times. Ford took the high road during the political turmoil of Vietnam and Watergate. He pulled us out of Vietnam, and pardoned President Richard Nixon.
The pardon probably cost him the 1976 election. But he did the right thing. Now, 30 years later, we are better able to appreciate the wisdom and the foresight of his decision.
As Cheney said, we don’t know what turmoil, what pain, was circumvented because of that pardon. We can guess, though, that it would not have been pleasant.
So thank you, President Ford. May history judge you more fairly than your contemporaries did.