Final respects were paid in Washington today for former President Gerald Ford, who died last Tuesday at the age of 93. Ford's body was moved from the Capitol, where he had been lying in state, to Washington's National Cathedral where he was eulogized by President Bush and others. Ford's final resting place will be Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he grew up.
To the strains of "Hail to the Chief" and the thunder of cannon-fire, a military honor guard carried President Ford's casket down the steps of the Capitol building. The body of the 38th president was then driven through the streets of Washington to the National Cathedral for the funeral ceremony.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George Bush, Sr. attended the ceremony. Other dignitaries were there as well.
President Bush, who escorted Mrs. Ford into the Cathedral, delivered the main eulogy. "In President Ford, the world saw the best of America, he said.. "And America found a man whose character and leadership would bring calm and healing to one of the most divisive moments in our nation's history."
President Bush senior and Ford's secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, also delivered remarks - and spoke of the late president's qualities.
Mr. Kissinger said, "Gerald Ford had the virtues of small-town America: sincerity, serenity and integrity. As it turned out, the absence of glibness and his artless decency became a political asset, fostering an unusual closeness to leaders around the world, which continued long after he left office."
Ford became president in 1974, following the resignation of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. Nixon had appointed Ford vice president in 1973 to succeed Spiro Agnew, who resigned in a bribery scandal. After assuming the presidency, Ford worked to heal the bitterly divided nation - though his pardon of Richard Nixon was controversial. He ran for president in 1976 but was defeated by Jimmy Carter.
President Ford's remains will be buried Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he grew up. Many in Grand Rapids have placed flowers and other tributes to the former president at various points in the city.
Outside Ford's boyhood home, resident Dan Koorndyk recalled the former president.
"When I was in high school he became president. The whole Nixon-Watergate thing was happening. I thought he was a great man and the right person for the job at the time."
A private funeral service will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids Wednesday, following by a private burial at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.