Tuesday, January 02, 2007
A NATION AND WEST MICHIGAN REMEMBERS.
I've been watching today the funeral of President Ford at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (thanks to the Internet and streaming live!) Soon, he will be arriving in Grand Rapids, and all the honor and respect this man deserves will be bestowed upon him in his final resting place, his hometown, overlooking the river that gives our town its name--Grand.
The media has been camped out here since last Tuesday--probably more than 20 media vans/trucks have been lined up near the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. There has been a steady stream of visitors and mourners, filling the streets of our downtown area on a weekend when usually little or no activity is taking place.
They say you aren't appreciated until you're gone, and I suspect that until recently, and now, President Ford was not appreciated for who he was and what he stood for.
Our local TV stations have been playing almost 24/7 different clips commemorating the life and times of Gerald Ford. One thing that has stood out over all other quotes was a comment he made about West Michigan, that West Michigan is known for its integrity. And that's what they say about Jerry Ford.
Don and I took a drive Sunday and found one of the homes where Ford lived as a boy. There is a historical marker there. And coincidentally, the New Year's Day race I ran took place in another area where he lived. There are also historical markers throughout the area, indicating it is home of Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States.
Regardless of your politics, I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of the history of this man by being part of the hometown he helped represent for 25+ years before he became Vice President. And regardless of politics again, he was overwhelmingly recommended for the job of Vice President, both by Republicans and Democrats, and that was what Gerald Ford considered one of his proudest accomplishments. And Grand Rapids was very fortunate to have been on the receiving end of this man's representation for so many years. He truly cared about the people of West Michigan and the United States.
So I feel we here in Grand Rapids especially need to remember and honor this man on this National Day of Mourning, set aside to honor one of its own. Grand Rapids will soon be in the national limelight for maybe one of the last times.