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Bush uses radio waves to eulogize former President Ford

Bush uses radio waves to eulogize former President Ford

President George W. Bush said Saturday that the last time he saw Gerald R. Ford, the ailing former president was still cracking jokes.
In his weekly radio address, Bush eulogized Ford, who died Tuesday, as a "courageous leader, a true gentleman and a loving father and husband."
"Gerald Ford never lost the spirit that Americans grew to admire so much," Bush said, recalling his visit with Ford and former first lady Betty Ford in the spring at their home in Rancho Mirage, California.
"At age 92, and battling health problems, he was still telling jokes and displaying the optimism that helped guide our nation through some of its darkest hours," Bush said.
When they return to Washington on Monday, Bush and first lady Laura Bush plan to pay their respects to Ford, who will be lying in state at the Capitol. On Tuesday, the president will speak at Ford's funeral service at the National Cathedral.
Ford will be buried Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he grew up.
"The people of Michigan admired his dedication and decency, and so did his fellow members of Congress," Bush said about Ford, who won 13 elections to Congress after serving in World War II.
In December 1973, Ford accepted the responsibilities of the vice presidency; the following August, he became president after President Nixon resigned in disgrace during the Watergate scandal. A month later, Ford told the nation it was time to "shut and seal this book" of Watergate and pardoned Nixon.
"Providence gave us Gerald Ford's steady hand and calm leadership during a time of great division and turmoil," Bush said. "He guided America through a crisis of confidence, and helped our nation mend its wounds by restoring faith in our system of government."
"Gerald Ford distinguished himself as a man of integrity and selfless dedication," Bush said. "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."


Updated : 2020-12-02 16:01 GMT+08:00