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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hail, Hail To The Chief

Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States died last night at the age of 93.

Ford lived an extraordinary life: He was born Leslie King Jr. in Omaha on July 14, 1913. Ford's mother divorced his abusive, alcoholic father when he was a toddler. He adopted the name of his step-father, who together with his mother raised Ford in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Ford excelled in the classroom and on the gridiron, enrolling at the University of Michigan following his graduation from high school.

A standout offensive lineman for Wolverine football teams in the mid-1930s, Ford bypassed opportunities to play in the fledgling National Football League to attend Yale Law School. After receiving his law degree, Ford served in the United States Navy during World War II, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

After returning from the War, the 35-year-old Ford surprisingly defeated an incumbent Congressman, leading to a career in the U.S. House of Representatives that spanned almost a quarter of a century. Because of his reputation for integrity and trustworthiness, Ford -- then the Minority Leader of the House -- was selected by President Richard Nixon to replace the scandal-ridden Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1973. A year later Ford ascended to the presidency when Nixon resigned due to the disgrace of the Watergate. As President, Ford did much to help heal the nation during this turbulent time, though he narrowly lost the presidency to Jimmy Carter in 1976. Ford enjoyed an active retirement in Colorado, California, and Michigan since leaving office; his 30 years as former president the longest such stint in American history. He is survived by his wife Betty and their four children.

It is appropriate to note here at the MZone that Ford remained a proud Michigan Man throughout his life, often instructing the Naval Band to play "The Victors" instead of "Hail to the Chief" at official presidential functions.

The MZone sends our sincerest gratitude to President Ford for his impressive and important commitment to the University of Michigan and the United States of America.

This post was written by MZone contributor IC.


Anony said...

Very well written IC.

Matt W. said...

Nicely done. I was shocked to find out he was already 93 years old -- he lived a long and full life.

Anony said...

Matt, me too. If only we could all be so lucky.

MGoBlue93 said...

What a sad ending to this year... two great Michigan men lost in the last two months. Thank-you and God bless Mr. Ford and Bo.

Jim said...

A man of integrity, trust, and character. Too bad they don't make them like that anymore.
Nicely written piece, IC.

MGOBLUE94 said...

He was a Michigan Man, but above all he was a man of integrity through and through!

These things come in Threes ... some one go tell James Earl Jones to go see a Doctor!!


The Penalty Kill said...

I didn't know about him having the Naval band play The Victors, very cool. Indeed a great man.

beast in 'bama said...

It's probably impossible in this corporate age, but they should officially change the name to the Gerald R. Ford College Football All-America Team.

That's what he was his entire life...

Well said, IC.

Anonymous said...

He was a Michigan Man, but he was first and foremost a great American. We were blessed by his lifetime.

R.I. P. Jerry !!

Fritz Steiner
Huntsville, AL

Andy said...

Bo must have needed a tough center for the football team up there...

MGoBlue93 said...

Fritz... Michigan Men (and women) are always Michigan Men (and women) first and foremost.

trojan mike said...

A lot of great men have come out of Michigan. FIGHT ON, President Ford.

TitleIX said...

Remember too that he was a DeKE, and the house that he lived in is still occupied by the fraternity at the corner of Olivia and Cambridge.
Here is a link to a story from the Michigan Daily (2/2006)


Anonymous said...

I am a liberal, but I am not heartless and I am a Michigan fan first anyway. RIP Gerald Ford. You made Michigan fans proud.

johnny wangler said...

My family that roots for UM is all from Grand Rapids, so they're taking his death kind of hard today.Ford was a true Michigan Man and class act.

Anonymous said...

The only president to never be elected into either the presidency OR the vice presidency.

(the only way a UM grad could get into office......)


Anonymous said...

Can you imagine Gerald Ford being asked if he wears boxers or briefs?

Something tells me we need to get back to having real men, as opposed to crowd pleasers, in the office of president.

-from Grand Rapids

johnny wangler said...

anon 6:10

Let me guess, your from Ohio and and you feel like bashing UM at any cost. Show some respect and class for once and respect the dead. You NEVER saw UM fans joking it up when that player broke something in his neck over the summer. So instead or being an ass, show some respect, just for once.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Johnny...I hate OSU fans so much. They are so immature and arrogant. Let's see if they have the same attitude next season when their thug and true gangsta, Troy, is no longer in an OSU uniform.