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Body of Former President Gerald Ford to Be Brought to Washington Saturday


The body of former U.S. President Gerald Ford will be flown to Washington Saturday where it will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol.

The late president's remains will arrive from Palm Desert, California, where the body is lying in repose at the church that Mr. Ford and his wife Betty attended. Thousands of people are expected to file past the flag-draped casket to pay their final respects to Mr. Ford. The 38th U.S. president died Tuesday at the age of 93.

President Bush said in his radio address Saturday that President Ford helped guide the country through a crisis of confidence after the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Mr. Bush called Mr. Ford a "wise President who helped heal our nation" by restoring people's faith in the government.

After a two day public viewing period at the Capitol, Mr. Ford's casket will be taken to Washington's National Cathedral Tuesday for a memorial service. President Bush has declared Tuesday as a national day of mourning.

Mr. Ford will be buried Wednesday on the grounds of his presidential museum in his hometown in the northern state of Michigan.

Tributes from fellow politicians and friends have highlighted what they called the late president's integrity and decency.

Mr. Ford is the only American to have served as both president and vice president without being elected to either office. President Richard Nixon appointed him vice president in 1973 when scandal forced then-Vice President Spiro Agnew from office. Mr. Ford rose to the nation's top office when Mr. Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment in 1974.

Mr. Ford served two-and a-half years as president. He is credited with soothing the nation after the trauma of the Vietnam War and the Watergate political scandal that forced Mr. Nixon from office.

Mr. Ford's pardon of Mr. Nixon of any crimes he may have committed during Watergate earned him the wrath of Mr. Nixon's opponents. Some historians say it also cost Mr. Ford the election in 1976. The same historians also point out that by pardoning the disgraced leader, Mr. Ford helped the country recover more quickly.

On Tuesday, all non-essential federal offices will be closed, as will the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq stock market.

Some information for this report was provided by AP .

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