Farewell to President Gerald R. Ford of the United States of America

Article excerpt

WHEN Gerald R. Ford took his oath of office on August 9, 1974, as the only nationally non-elected president of the United States of America, he was aware of the difficult situation he confronted. "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances," he said. "This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts."

President Ford faced insuperable tasks that included mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace. He acted to curb the trend toward government intervention and spending as a means of solving the problems of American society and the economy. In the long run, he believed, this shift would bring about a better life for all Americans.

As a political leader, President Ford had a reputation for integrity and openness that had made him popular during his 25 years in Congress. From 1965 to 1973, he was House Minority Leader.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, he grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He starred on the University of Michigan football team, then went to Yale, where he served as assistant coach while earning his law degree. During World War II, he attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy. …