Thursday, December 28, 2006
In Memory of Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States
In Memory of Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States.
Every so often, down through history, a person is suddenly thrust upon the world stage and yoked with the burden of leadership in a time of great turmoil. Such a man was Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States.
Mr. Ford took the reins of a country suffering one of the lowest ebbs in it’s history. I will never forget, at his "swearing in", he unashamedly asked for the prayers of the American people. He was a man who had suddenly found himself in a situation from which there was no easy way out. All the eyes of his countrymen were upon him... and he felt every one of them.
Then the day arrived at which he must make a decision, which would affect his country in a positive way and affect his life, and career, in a negative way. He made that decision and for the remainder of all time he will be remembered as the man who pardoned President Richard Nixon.
Mr. Ford’s decision to issue the Presidential Pardon for Mr. Nixon doomed his political career; yet saved a nation many more years of tumult. It had the effect of cauterizing a wound. The searing heat brought momentary pain, but it also began the healing process. America was in dire need of healing and Mr. Ford sacrificed himself on that alter.
He was a man’s man. Klutzy, while athletic, with the always prominent male pattern baldness on display, he was “everyman”.
As the years passed and Mr. Ford moved into retirement off the world’s stage he chose to represent America, as a Past President with the quiet dignity of an American at peace with himself. He did not feel it necessary to remain in the spotlight, or to steal the spotlight from current leaders, no matter what the political party in power, and no matter what he thought of that administration’s policies. He was content. He had had his “at bat” and for better or worse, he was over it... and over himself.
Unlike later presidents, he chose to uphold the tradition, of America’s past-presidents, to fade quietly into the shadows and not remain active on the world’s stage and possibly create problems, or embarrassments, for the administrations, which followed his. I’m sure the many Presidents, which followed Jerry Ford, are forever thankful for that common courtesy. Mr. Ford was very different from those past presidents who wander the world’s stage and seem to pop up in turbulent spots around the globe and oft times condemn their own country, or the current administration, from the shores of nations who claim no friendship for America.
Mr. Ford was a man of HONOR. He was a kind and decent man. He was a loving husband, a loving father, and a great American. He loved his country and he did not shrink from executing his duty, as America’s leader, no matter whether doing so was popular or not. He did what was right. That’s character.
America was blessed to have had Mr. Ford in the Oval Office. We would like to express our deep gratitude to his family for “loaning” him to us for too few decades. His absence is felt, already.
The current administration, and those to come, would do well to look upon Mr. Ford’s conduct in office and adopt the quality of leadership he demonstrated.
Oft times, in a nation’s history, it does not recognize greatness in a leader until that leader is taken in death. As we look back, over the next few days, to Mr. Ford’s life, let us examine that greatness... greatness that was there, all along, and to which many of us were blind.
Godspeed, Mr. Ford! Heaven awaits!