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Flags lowered in honor of President Ford

Jan. 1, 2007

KALAMAZOO--By order of Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, U.S. flags on all campuses of Western Michigan University and at all state buildings and facilities will be lowered for 30 days in honor of former U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, who died Dec. 26 at age 93.

"The nation has lost a president, but Michigan has lost a native son who honored us with his service to our state and the nation," said Granholm. "President Ford's leadership and decency were exhibited throughout his life." Serving as president in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, he "helped heal the nation during one of the most difficult periods of our history."

Under federal law, flags are flown at half-staff for 30 days following the death of the president or a former president at all federal facilities and government buildings. Granholm also is encouraging all Michigan residents and non-governmental entities to observe the flag lowering through Thursday, Jan. 25, as a mark of respect for President Ford.

Gerald R. Ford was born July 13, 1913, in Omaha, Neb., but just two weeks after his birth, his parents separated, and his mother returned with him to her hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., where he grew up and attended public schools. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1935 and a degree in law from Yale University in 1941.

Following service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Ford returned to Grand Rapids and the law firm he had established with a friend only a few months before the United States entered the war. He was first elected to Congress in 1948 and represented his Grand Rapids district as a Republican member of the House for the next 26 years.

Ford was named to serve as vice president in 1973, following the resignation of then-vice president Spiro Agnew. Less than one year later, Aug. 9, 1974, Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States, when Richard M. Nixon resigned under increasing public and Congressional pressure over allegations of misconduct and obstruction of justice stemming from the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate.

Minutes after being sworn in as president, Ford addressed the nation.

"My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here, the people rule."

Ford will be buried in Grand Rapids on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Museum.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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