Who was your first president? It wasn’t a nation defining moment
but it still made an indelible memory. I couldn’t’ tell you what
the news story was about, but for some reason the picture of the
President waving as he stepped off of Air Force One caused my
heart to beat a little faster, and my chest grew so tight that
I thought the buttons where going to pop right off my shirt.
Somewhere in that moment the seeds of patriotism where sown.
This was my president.
I couldn’t have been more than six or seven years old when Gerald
Ford became president, and probably wouldn’t have understood the
events of the Vietnam war or the Watergate scandal. Later in life
these events would of course become test questions in American
History. Gerald Ford passed quietly from the political scene, and
was pretty much forgotten until his state funeral.
Relatives from out of town provided the perfect excuse to make the
three-hour drive, to visit the Gerald Ford Museum, ironically on
what would have been his 95th birthday. We arrived in time to
witness the wreath laying ceremony, with the Ford children, local
political dignitaries, Eagle Scouts, and military personnel in
attendance. Michael Ford, the oldest of the four children, was the
keynote speaker and took as his text Psalm 30:5 which reads in part
"weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (KJV)
Touring the Gerald Ford Museum, and seeing not only the political
perspective, and flash backs to the Disco era, but the rest of
Gerald Ford’s life story. Not just the highlights of his glory
days playing football for the University of Michigan, or his
harrowing experiences aboard the USS Monterey, but the people
and events in his life that shaped his character and his faith.
There in the museum was the old King James Bible used at his
swearing in, after President Nixon resigned in the wake of the
On the way back to the parking lot we stopped by Gerald Ford’s
tomb one last time, the small plaza now quiet and empty, except
for the wreaths standing in silent memorial before the tomb.
The inscription above the tomb reads "Lives Committed to God,
Country, and Love." Opposite of the tomb there is a low
retaining wall, with a bronze plaque with a simple inscription.
It was a phrase he had learned as a boy, and one that he and his
wife pondered and prayed over in the wee hours of the morning
before President Nixon’s resignation.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine
own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall
direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6