With the death of President Gerald Ford, America has lost a model patriot, an exemplary leader, and a vocal advocate of an inclusive democracy. And The Interfaith Alliance has lost a true friend and cooperative supporter. During a visit with President Ford, he voiced his deep concern about a divided America. As a man of profound faith himself, President Ford had little patience for those who manipulate religion for partisan political gain.
One memory of President Ford stands out above all others. I told him that I was collecting the favorite words of high profile people around the world for a book. The former president knew immediately the words that he wanted to share with me. President Ford took out his wallet and showed my wife Judy and me a piece of paper that he carried with him at all times-a definition of the word “pardon.” He explained that the receipt of a pardon indicated that the person pardoned had accepted responsibility for the act pardoned. That definition was extremely important to Gerald Ford because he felt accepting responsibility was imperative for every person in a democracy. A few days later, President Ford sent to me what he considered the most important words in his public life: “Our long national nightmare is over.”
Our nation will miss Gerald Ford as will I. On this I think all of us can agree that we are better people for having had him among us. So, we give thanks for his life.