Family members visit Gerald Ford's grave site



The grave site was cordoned off by a wrought-iron fence.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- Betty Ford and her family stopped at former President Gerald R. Ford's grave site on the Grand River for a few moments in private Thursday, a day after a stirring funeral and burial service.
Each family member touched a stone wall bearing the epitaph "Lives Committed to God, Country and Love," and the names Gerald and Betty Ford.
A short time later, the grounds of Ford's presidential museum were opened and dozens of visitors headed toward the burial site, which was cordoned off by a wrought-iron fence.
"Watching Mrs. Ford [at Wednesday's burial service], it was kind of like she was everybody's mother here yesterday, or everybody's grandmother or great-grandmother," said Tom Hall, 63, who drove to he museum from Holland, Mich.
Ford was laid to rest late Wednesday as thousands of people lined nearby streets and bridges to catch a glimpse of history. There was a 21-gun salute and a fly-over by 21 F-15E fighter jets, and light applause broke out as one jet in a missing man formation suddenly flew straight up as its rear engine glowed.
Remembered
The former president was also remembered at his family's longtime church, Grace Episcopal in East Grand Rapids, as a man not afraid to laugh, make tough decisions or listen to the advice of his independent wife.
"You learn a lot about a man when you run against him for president, and you stand in his shoes and assume the responsibilities that he has borne so well," Jimmy Carter, Ford's successor, said during the Wednesday church service.
"I relished his sound advice," Carter said as his wife, Rosalynn Carter, cried. "I want to thank my predecessor for all he did to heal our land."
Betty Ford wiped away tears as she sat with the couple's four children and more than 300 dignitaries and family friends, including Vice President Dick Cheney and golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, an honorary pallbearer.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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