Bil Browning

What if you had a state funeral and no one came?

Filed By Bil Browning | January 19, 2007 6:33 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, You Gotta See This
Tags: BushCo, Democrats, funerals, Gerald Ford, Obituary, president, Republicans

(I was going to post about this when it was actually a current event, but didn't have the time. This new "You Gotta See This" category may end up being a good thing, eh? I'll clean out my "Blogworthy" folder in my browser!)

So what happens when you have a state funeral and no one comes? I'm sure it would be humiliating for the family. Well, it just happened - to former President Gerald Ford. Remember that Ford had more than one funeral. He had a private family-only service in California, a state funeral in DC, another service at the Washington National Cathedral and was buried in Michigan. Apparently, everyone skipped the state funeral - you know, the one that Washington dignitaries should be honoring him at...

How disrespectful - from both sides of the aisle.

President Bush sent his regrets; he was cutting cedar and riding his bike on his ranch in Texas. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his deputy, Richard Durbin, couldn't make it, either; they were on a trip to visit Incan ruins. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi took a pass, too -- as did nearly 500 of the 535 members of Congress.

A 6-to-3 majority of the Supreme Court, including Ford's appointee, John Paul Stevens, ruled against attending. All the nation's governors were invited; few, if any, came. Apparently only two Cabinet members -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez -- accepted the invite.

Congressional staffers and Ford family representatives scrambled to find sufficient greeters and honorary pallbearers to join Vice President Cheney and a score of former lawmakers and Ford administration officials.

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I remember seeing reports of this too.

Pretty sad considering that whatever you thought abut his pardon of Nixon, Ford was one of the last decent human beings to occupy the White House in recent memory.

I agree, Mike. If the current occupier of the White House had half of the statesmanship of President Ford (and 1/10th of the intelligence) we'd be in much better shape.