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THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, as Americans prepare to welcome a new year, we do so with heavy hearts and fond memories of our 38th President, Gerald R. Ford. We mourn the passing of a courageous leader, a true gentleman, and a loving father and husband. On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I send our prayers and condolences to Mrs. Ford and the entire Ford family.
Gerald Ford was a great man who devoted the best years of his long life to public service. He fought for his country during World War II. After returning home, he won the first of 13 elections to the United States Congress. The people of
Gerald Ford always believed in the importance of answering the call to duty, and he was there for the Nation when we needed him most. In December 1973, he accepted the responsibilities of the Vice Presidency; and the following August, he became President of the
In his two-and-a-half years as President, Gerald Ford distinguished himself as a man of integrity and selfless dedication. He always put the needs of his country before his own, and did what he thought was right, even when those decisions were unpopular. Only years later would Americans come to fully appreciate the foresight and wisdom of this good man.
In recent years, Americans have honored Gerald Ford with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
Through it all, Gerald Ford stayed true to the values that first led him to a life of public service, and he helped share that spirit with a future generation of leaders. He served as a mentor for Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, and many others. He brought out the best in those around him, and in our whole Nation.
To the end, Gerald Ford never lost the spirit that Americans grew to admire so much. This spring, I visited President and Mrs. Ford at their home in Rancho Mirage,
Gerald Ford's life spanned nine decades, and took him from the football fields of his boyhood in
May God bless Gerald R. Ford. Thank you for listening.