|One of the door handles at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids.|
Last Friday, in honor of Brian's birthday, we visited the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Gerald R. Ford is the only U.S. President from Michigan, and the only President to serve his country without being elected to the office of President or Vice President.
Ford was a Representative and the Republican Minority Leader when President Richard Nixon appointed him to the position of Vice President in 1973 following the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. When Nixon resigned in 1974, following the Watergate scandal, Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President of the United States.
During his short time in the White House, President Ford faced the challenge of restoring the trust of the American people. He received much criticism when he pardoned Mr. Nixon. One of his critics, Senator Ted Kennedy, later admitted that President Ford made the right decision in leading the country toward healing rather than focusing on the Watergate scandal.
President Ford also dealt with the problem of inflation, two assassination attempts, and criticism following his conditional amnesty for men who had dodged the draft. As with all presidents, Ford wrestled with foreign problems as well. In 1975, the United States withdrew from Vietnam, and President Ford anxiously waited for reports as thousands of refuges were evacuated before the fall of Saigon.
In 1976, President Ford campaigned against Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter. Carter won the election and Gerald R. Ford's time as President came to the end.
While Gerald R. Ford's story is fascinating in it's own right, as we wandered through the halls of the museum I was intrigued with the advances in photography. Change in technology was illustrated by photos spanning Ford's ninety-three years of life. First there were black and white portraits from his childhood, then color film shots from his years in the White House, followed by digital images from his funeral in 2006.
The Gerald R. Ford Museum portrays the life of the 38th President of the United States, but it also illustrates the change--from how the American people viewed the President to advances in technology--that occurred during that lifetime.
|Julie's image is reflected as she gazes at a section of the Berlin Wall in the lobby of the Gerald R. Ford Museum.|