Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Welcome Home, Mr. President

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It feels like it was a week ago when we woke up this morning at 2:45 am to go downtown to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and see President Ford lying in repose. We waited in line for 2 hours to become 5 of the 60,000 plus people who would pay their respects to this great man. Last night, the lines were 5-8 hours long, so we decided to go early in the morning. Much of the line was in the warmth of a conference center, but the last part of the line rose up over the foot bridge of the icy cold Grand River and went down in to the shining museum. This part of the walk gave us a good wake up call for our final view. We enterred the Museum, and around a large black curtain, we saw the flag-draped coffin. Five honor guards, who looked as if they were made of wax, surrounded it. We walked by it reverently, and then, two friendly people gave us Memorial Cards as we left the museum.

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Later in the day, after work & school, the kids & I met John downtown to see the funeral procession and the flyover of F-15's. We arrived in time to see the hearse come down Monroe Avenue. We also saw Betty Ford and the Ford children. Earlier, John had seen Jimmy Carter and others.

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We walked up Monroe to one of the parks on the Grand River to witness the fly-over. While we were waiting, I called my mom to tell her what we had seen. She told me what was happening in the funeral as she watched it on TV. The smoke in the picture below was from the 21-cannon salute.

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The twenty-one F-15's came at last from the south up the Grand River; one led the way, and then there were 5 groups of 4. As the final group of four was directly overhead, I looked up with tears in my eyes as one of the planes left the formation and soared off into the heavens.

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So this was our view of the day in Grand Rapids. This video shows how great the day was.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, Julia, great photo journaling!

I could hardly pull myself from the radio and tv today too.

The planes flew right over Southpoint Court. We watched them from our deck.

Ruth

Anonymous said...

Is the picture of the herse with the casket in taken from your camera?

Ruth

Jewels said...

Yes, I took them all.

Marianna said...

Julia - awesome! You and your children witnessed a part of history. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the first-hand experience. Mar

Jewels said...

Hi Mar- Yes, it was great to witness - they only do the 21 plane flyovers for Presidents & Vice-Presidents, and I don't think the kids will ever forget going to the museum at 3 in the morning!

Bob said...

What a neat experience! Sounds like your family made the most of it.