News / USA

George W. Bush, Michelle Obama Gather for Betty Ford Funeral

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty talk to reporters outside the White House in this August 11, 1999 file photo.
Former U.S. President Gerald Ford and his wife Betty talk to reporters outside the White House in this August 11, 1999 file photo.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and former president George W. Bush were among those at a funeral for former first lady Betty Ford, who died Friday in California at the age of 93.

Rosalynn Carter, another former first lady and close friend of Mrs. Ford, gave the first of three eulogies Tuesday.  

Mrs. Carter praised Mrs. Ford for her courage and grace in fighting against stigma and prejudices.  She said Mrs. Ford was "never afraid to speak the truth even about the most sensitive subjects," including her own struggles with addiction and cancer.

Another speaker, journalist Cokie Roberts, said Mrs. Ford had asked her in advance to speak at her funeral to remind people how Washington, DC, "used to be."

Roberts' mother was a close friend of Mrs. Ford's, and her father worked with Mrs. Ford's husband, former president Gerald Ford, then a congressman in the 1950s.  Roberts says her father and Mr. Ford would argue passionately about issues but still maintained a friendship that "made governing possible."  And she said her mother, Mrs. Ford and other political wives also forged strong connections and made "the men behave."  Roberts said she wished current congressmen would try to get together as nicely.

Roberts joked Mrs. Ford may have timed her death to ensure this message would come this week, as lawmakers and President Barack Obama engage in a contentious debate over the budget and the national debt.

The service for Mrs. Ford was held at a church in Palm Desert, California.  Her remains will be flown to Michigan for a public viewing and burial alongside her husband, who died in 2006.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan, both former first ladies, also attended the funeral.

Mrs. Ford was an outspoken advocate for women's rights and women's health.

As first lady from 1974 to 1977, she became known for her candor, famously discussing women's rights, premarital sex and abortion in a television interview.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer while at the White House, and became a champion for breast cancer research and awareness.

After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford acknowledged and sought treatment for an addiction to alcohol and painkillers.  In 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center in California, still one of the most well-known and well-regarded treatment centers for substance abuse.

Mrs. Ford was born in Chicago in 1918.  She moved to New York in her twenties and worked as a dancer and model.

The late president Ford was her second husband.  The two wed shortly before he was elected to serve in Congress in 1948.  He became vice president in 1973 after the resignation of Spiro Agnew - and became president in 1974 after the Watergate scandal led president Richard Nixon to resign.

President Obama said Mrs. Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion.  He said that as the nation's first lady, she was a powerful advocate for women's health and women's rights.



You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs