Ford's Body, Services Move to Capitol

By  | 

CAPITOL HILL -- It was a departure from tradition -- one that honored Gerald Ford's years of service in the House.

After his casket was carried into the US Capitol building, pallbearers placed it outside the House chamber before it was taken to the rotunda to lie in state.

Ford served nearly a quarter-century as a congressman from Michigan before he became vice president.

On Tuesday, Ford's body will rest briefly outside the Senate chamber -- since his service as vice president made him Senate president.

So who else has lain in state in the Capitol Rotunda? Find out through a link at the end of this story

A Low-Key Event

The funeral procession for Gerald Ford didn't contain the full trappings of some of the others that have been given former presidents. And that was at the request of Ford's family -- and Ford himself, who had made his wishes known before he died.

Instead of the horse-drawn caisson that carried the bodies of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, a motorcade was arranged. There was no riderless horse, which is customarily included.

A full-throttle state funeral in Washington normally includes a thundering military fly-over. But that will happen instead on Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Ford will be laid to rest on a hillside near his presidential museum.

Cheney Remembers Ford

Vice President Cheney says Gerald Ford was a man who spared the country further bitterness and turmoil, with his decision to pardon Richard Nixon in the aftermath of Watergate.

Speaking at the first of the Washington funeral services for Ford at the rotunda of the US Capitol, Cheney says it was a decision that most likely cost Ford the 1976 election.

But Cheney said, it's "far from the worst fate that a man should be remembered for his capacity to forgive."

Cheney, who was a young chief-of-staff to President Ford, says Ford became known in Congress for his honesty and his kindness. He says "good judgment" and "fair dealing" were his marks.

And he says Ford wasn't just the guy-next-door who somehow became president. Cheney says Ford was the man who led the country "through a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe."

He also says it was clear to everyone that Ford's wife, Betty, was the source of his great happiness. And he told her that all the good they had done together will live on.

Former Congressman's Collapse Delays Service

The funeral ceremony for former President Gerald Ford was briefly interrupted by the collapse of one of the mourners.

It was former Republican Congressman William Broomfield of Michigan.

The 84-year-old was laid out on the floor of the Rotunda. Among those going to his aid was outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is a physician.

Broomfield was later taken out in a wheelchair.

It happened during an opening hymn as Ford's casket reposed nearby.

The program resumed after about five minutes.