tv Today in Washington CSPAN July 15, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. blessed are they which do hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see god. blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of god. blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted, they the prophets which were before you. the gospel of the lord.
reverend holmgren, honored guests, mike, jack, steve, susan, and all of mrs. ford's family and friends, in these last few days, so much has been written about betty ford, and the words have been wonderful and true. yet still sad to hear, because they're also meant as a good-bye to one of the finest, dearest people any of us has ever known. for each one of us, what a joy it was that betty ford was a part of our life. the last time the nation saw mrs. ford, she was here in grand rapids on that long day when we laid her husband to rest. from then on, she was content to go her way and live out her days
in the company of a few friends and her loving children and grandchildren. but she remained among the most admired women in the world. public life was behind her. but mrs. ford's reputation wasn't the kind that needed cultivating, just the mention of her name brings good and hopeful things to mind. i got to know mrs. ford about the same time the whole nation did. she was the first lady who less than a year before had been a stay at home mom, on crownview drive in alexandria, virginia. what started out as the nixon, agnew years suddenly became the ford rockefeller years, and the times brought a few unexpected turns to my own family as well. my husband was called into service by president ford, and before long, i had the privilege
of knowing the first family. how many amazing memories we share. when i was around mrs. ford, what always struck me was how so many incredible things could happen to one person, from suburban life to the white house in a space of ten months, and still leave her unchanged. through it all, she kept her bearings, across the years she was the same candid and completely unpretentious woman. mrs. ford once said that walking out on the south lawn and saying good-bye to pat and dick nixon was the saddest day she'd ever known, and no one appointed with her character and kind heart had any doubt that she meant it. mrs. ford was not only elegant and graceful, she was delight fully honest and modest. when she rose high in the world, she observed it can happen to
anyone. after all, it has happened to anyone. but when the attention of the world turned in her direction, elizabeth ann bloomer ford was ready. before december, 1973, her life was all about home and family, and there was time for little else. in her memoir, she recalled i was lucky enough to have these four children. and they were terribly interesting. at least to me. i was a den mother. i was a sunday school teacher. i was an interior decorator and peace maker and zookeeper. she loved her children. susan told me earlier today that she had gone in early july to visit her mom on her, susan's birthday, and that her mom from her bed had sung her happy birthday. and i know with what love she did it, and i like to think that today, on gerald ford's
birthday, she's singing to him in heaven. mrs. ford knew how to cook a pretty good meal, too, or serve one up, susan said i should say. at least to judge by one story i have heard, it's from the time her husband decided to challenge charlie halak for minority leader, and it was an intense con test, and bright and intense young men working around the clock in gerald ford's behalf scheduled a 6:00 p.m. meeting. but congressman fordree fused to stay for it. nope, he said, i am going home. betty has made a pot roast. she had the domestic arts in hand, and she was fierce about their importance. she knew how hard women work in the home and how important that work is, but in a way that many of us can relate to, there were times when she wondered what else she could contribute. she had danced at carnegie hall,
sat for photographers before she was a congressman's wife. she had dreams of her own, talents of her own that went beyond being beautiful, though she was certainly that. blunt as always, she said that sometimes, and i quote, i felt like a nobody, like i was being left behind. as it turned out, betty ford had so much to give the world, so many contributions to make, so many lives that she has changed for the better and even saved by her example and efforts. she not only became her own woman, she showed a lot of others how to do the same. when jerry ford was president, and reporters wanted to know the first lady's opinion, they didn't get demure evasions, they got the full dose. when a visiting prime minister confessed at a white house dinner that he didn't know how to dance, he got his first
lesson then and there from betty ford. and when her husband lost his voice at the end of the 1976 campaign and was unable even to read his concession speech in the white house press room, it was the first lady who stepped forward to read it for him. looking back on all that had happened, she spoke of living a page of history, and betty ford filled that page. and she filled it with style and class and courage. she hadn't expected her life to be part of history, much less the trials of her life, and yet when americans remember betty ford, many will always think first of how she dealt with illness and how she brought things out into the open where they can be faced and fought and conquered. there are uncounted thousands of women that survived breast cancer, and in many cases you
can draw a straight line right back to betty ford. the same can be said of many who struggled against the hurt and desolation of addiction as she did. she once said i'm not out to rescue anyone that doesn't want to be rescued. i'm grateful to jerry and my family for coming to my rescue. but accepting help is sometimes a lot tougher than giving help, and betty ford became a witness to the wonderful possibilities of renewal and recovery. she not only sought and found the best treatment, she built something grand and permanent for others in need. her husband's legacy is a time of healing. her legacy in part is a place of healing. they taught us so much, that gracious couple from grand rapids who said their vows in this church more than 60 years ago. betty ford dressed in blue
satin, carrying red roses walked through those doors with her handsome boyfriend, jerry, into a future beyond anything either of them imagined. and they walked together for so long. and they lived in the faith that promises reunion. their story has come to an end, and now we've said farewell to both of them. the rest of our days, we will cherish what it was and be thankful we knew and loved betty and jerry ford.
>> to be remembered with joy, betty ford once wrote, has to be a kind of immortality. she imparted more than her share of joy. long after leaving the white house in january, 1977, she and the president found themselves on a plane bound for houston, and a dinner honoring the legendary coach, vince lombardi. it was exactly the sort of road show event that congressman, vice president, and president ford had graced thousands of times over 30 well traveled years. and yet it was different. for tonight, he was coming as
citizen ford, an honorable title to be sure, one he would gladly have postponed in exchange for another four years in the oval office. as they neared their destination, gerald ford indulged in some uncharacteristic brooding. he accepted the invitation while still residing at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. he hoped the audience wouldn't feel let down, hearing from a mere ex-president. cue mrs. ford, exuding sympathy while offering reassurance. don't worry, honey, she told her husband, it's me they're coming to see anyway. [ laughter ] instantly, his doubts dissolved in laughter. how many times that scene must have repeated itself since the
crisp fall day in 1948 when elizabeth bloomer walked down the aisle of grace episcopal church with grand rapids' most eligible bachelor. her bridegroom's idea of a honeymoon combined a wolverine football game with an outdoor political rally, addressed by owosso michigan's famous son, thomas e. due ee. listening to politicians on a frosty october michigan evening was not an experience the new bride would remember with joy, but it was good practice for a life defined by the unexpected. at the time, betty ford could hardly imagine while governor dewey would never live in the white house, she would. once the issue quickly established herself as a first lady unlike her predecessors, not content to make history, she became one of those rare figures that make a difference.
a lasting difference in our public culture and in our private lives. in time, her name would enter the language, less for her activities while in the president's house than for her contributions after she left. more than a lib rated woman, betty ford was herself a great lib ray tore. next to the family in which she took fierce, unbounded pride, perhaps her best accomplishment was to lib rate us all from the crippling limit of labels. at once a traditionalist and trail blazer, sunday school teacher and seventh avenue model, mrs. ford was the feminist next door, a free spirit with a dress code. above all, she was a wife and mother. if you have any doubt on that score, ask mike, jack, steve or
susan. during his years on capitol hill, it was congressman's ford's habit to work saturdays at the capitol. often he brought one or more of his children. before they were at least to play hide and seek in statuary hall, the congressman directed them to a nearby battery of manual typewriters. write your mother a letter, he told them. tell her what a wonderful mother she is and how much you love her. all this week, americans have been sending their own expressions of love and gratitude to mrs. ford. the technology may be different, but the emotions are timeless. millions who never met her felt as if they knew betty ford. millions more wished they could. they identified with her struggles and from her courage in the face of adversity, they took inspiration to confront their own demons. little of this could have been
predicted in summer of 1974, when the fords many assumed them to be a family cut from the cloth of a 1950s sitcom. after all, hadn't an early "washington post" profile of then congressman ford's wife singled out this one time cub scout den mother for her face in, quote, quiet suits and, quote, slightly more talkative hats. more labels. more limits. in mrs. ford's living bible for august 9, 1974, the day's recommended verse proclaimed i will keep a muzzle on my mouth.
it was advice she conspicuously ignored. she had long since found her voice. among her milestones was a history making appearance on "the mary tyler moore show." it showed how far mrs. ford and the rest of us had traveled from father knows best. political advisers cringed over her famous "60 minutes" interview in which she talked about abortion, premarital sex and drug abuse. one irate user wrote in protest, to remind mrs. ford of what margaret truman once called the second hardest job in america. you are not an individual, he informed her. an american woman with complete freedom of speech and action who has only to answer to the family unit, the social requirements of the neighborhood and the laws of her community, state and nation.
you are because of the position your husband assumed, expected and unofficially required to be perfect. exclamation mark. it is quite obvious you were never put in your place and told by your husband that in this great country of ours you must retain at all times a position of beauty queen, mother of the year, high school prom sweetheart, grandmother of the year, church lead er, nurse and counselor to american women and girls. there you have it, the tyranny of perfection. betty ford helped to liberate us from that as well. as first lady, she opened a conversation on subjects once banned from the dinner table and around the water cooler. she confided feelings of emptiness while struggling to
reconcile her personal needs against the obligations exacted of the political wife. she acknowledged seeking professional counseling. she distinguished vulnerability from weakness, and she transformed the role of first lady to reflect not just a husband but a country that had come a long way, baby. where women's health issues are concerned, american history is divided into two unequal periods, before betty and after betty. once a lethal silence had env enveloped the subject of breast cancer like a london fog. before 1974 polite euphemisms found their way into obituaries. victims died of a wasting illness. there were no 1-800-numbers to call. no patient support groups. no breast self exam cards. women visiting their doctor's office were never asked, have
you had a mammogram. not for the last time she became a face not of disease, but of recovery. so mrs. ford's sense of humor and perspective helped improve the quality of life for millions of cancer survivors. this time releasing women and men, too, from private cells of secrecy, shame and fear. greater still was the stigma attached to alcohol and drug abuse, especially for women, whose illness was too often confused with moral failings. mrs. ford insisted any treatment facility that bore her name must also reflect her special
sensitivity towards women and their needs. she wanted it to be affordable, with charges kept low enough, as she put it, that a schoolteacher in nashville, tennessee, could go there for treatment. with the help of her friend and patient, leonard fooirestone, s created and sustained her vision. one day long before ground was broken, she was part of a group whisked off to las vegas on a private plane to see frank sinatra perform in concert. on the way back mrs. ford told her captive audience all about the unbuilt treatment center. of course, she didn't stop there. there was nothing readily available to write out a pledge.
so it came to pass that the first major do nations were written on cocktail napkins on frank sinatra's plane. her physical recovery was matched by her spiritual growth. initially she resisted putting her name on the facility. what if she fell off the wagon. later she gained personal responsibility for what everyone regarded as her most tangible legacy. a higher power was responsible for the betty ford center, she insisted. she was merely an instrument to be used in carrying out his plan. no one was proder of her accomplishments than her husband, the first member to join the center's advisory board, where he introduced himself to newcomers by announcing, i'm a former president, she's the current one.
he called it my lovely bride. for him she would always be the glamorous young dancer he had swept off her feet half a century ago. mrs. ford, the more practical of the two, embarked on plastic surgery. for a simple reason, she said. she wanted to look like her white house portrait. on a theater visit in 1977 they feld hard for a chorus line. the frank, funny, poignant tale of aspiring dancers. they were especially fond of the show's great emotional anthem, what i did for love. it could have been written with betty ford in mind. just think of all that she did for love. devoting six decades of her life
do a man who adored her in return, sharing her sorrows and rejoicing in her triumphs. it was for love she nursed and nurtured four children, carting them to ball games and school plays, helping them over the hurdles of adolescence, life in the white house, life after the white house, parenting and grandparenting. for love she revelled in her extended family in the grandchildren and great grandchildren who enjoyed nothing more than being in joyous proximity to their beloved gigi. that's not all betty ford did for love. mi mining possibility from her own pain, she banished the addiction. by being herself she made it easier for countless others to follow suit. the choices she made.
the leadership she provided all entitled her to rank alongside other great champions of women's rights. in her last years she lived out the feminist cravedo. whn the pleasures of youth are past, children grown up, married and gone, the hurry and bustle of life in a measure over, when the hands of weary of active service, when the old armchair and the fire side of a chosen resorts and men and women alike must fall back on their resources. more than once in recent years mrs. ford asked her children when are you going to let me go be with my boyfriend? today her wish is granted. parting is all we know of heaven, wrote emily dickinson,
and all we need of hell. for betty ford the last four and a half years were a kind purgatory. but one whose were eased by the loving members of her family. in the immediate aftermath of the president's funeral, friends had questioned mrs. ford's insistence on making the long physically demanding walk to his grave site. it was a walk along the banks of the grand river that she had often taken with her husband. january 3rd, 2007, was the last time she realized that she would make it on her own. it was the least she could do to honor his memory. soon we will retrace his steps for ourselves. completing the journey done so long ago by an ambitious war vet and his elegant bride. our sorrow is exceeded by our joy, but we know the story of
elizabeth boomer ford does not end in a grand rapids hillside. even as we take leave of her physical presence, we take heart knowing betty ford is where she wants to be, reunited with the love of her life and raid yent in the glory of her ultimate home coming. in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy
spirit, history remembers a popular statesman from the year 374. he served as a regional governor in northern italy, when strong beliefs divided his people these divisions were stirred up prior to the election of a new bishop of milan. to try and prevent further conflict, the governor spoke to those who gathered for the decision but his speech was interrupted by people shouting his name. ambrose bishop, though a believer, he was not yet baptized. since his training was in the law, he felt unprepared for the
office and refused the election. when the crowd inzied otherwise, ambrose went to hide at a friend's house. only when the emperor intervened did ambrose accept that being a bishop might be his true calling. the bible and church history are full of examples like this. a call comes to a woman or a man to accept a new role. but the call comes through the voices of other people. for god has a long history of calling people to leave the
routine and the ordinary for the holy realm of the extraordinary. we see this early with abraham and sarah. we see this again and again and again right through to the time of mary and joseph. and we see the same thing in our own lives. we yet we don't always recognize it for what it is. god often calls us through the voices of a community. and the call comes in response to the world's need. susan, steve, jack, mike.
i'm sure you will see i'm sure you will see a parallel between these stories and events in your father's life. at a time of national distress, his peers called upon him and urged him to accept a high office he had not sought but i wonder if we see parallels with your mother's life and with your own lives as well. in church and in society we're getting better about recognizing the challenges that come to family members following a parent's or a spouse's election to office. a new vocation is placed upon them. this is especially true for the
spouse and the children of a new president. suddenly as we have just heard, an extraordinary new set of roles come upon them. and they come with extraordinary pressur pressures. but here we find a challenge familiar to everyone, for all of us experience attention between the ordinariness of daily life where we do find comfort, and the more than ordinary expectations of others, which can leave us uneasy. it may come in being a mother to young children. a mentor to a scout group. or serving as an officer for a
community organization. we become uncomfortable when others expect us to be extraordinary. and do extraordinary things. often we try to meet those expectations, but soon we find ourselves carrying a burden we would rather lay aside. we only find a way forward when we discover the freedom of being who we are. and open about who we are. while still aiming for what is good, true and beautiful. this comes with accepting our
calling. like jonah eventually did. rather than in fleeing from it. both of your parents came to wider public attention at a time of national crisis. your father led by example guiding us toward government. he showed what can be accomplished through honesty, humor, personal integrity. and mutual respect. your mother also led by example. but through an unexpected path. toward a different kind of recovery. and her way forward was characterized just as much by
the virtues of honesty and humor, of personal integrity and mutual respect. your mother was a pioneer. she spoke courageously and with appropriate candor. about personal challenges that used to be denied and hidden. rather than faced and met. her journey through them changed us. we are now more ready to acknowledge that breast cancer and addiction affect many families betty ford showed us how extraordinary virtue and
courage can be demonstrated in every day circumstances. in this respect she lived the heart of jesus' beattituditudes. humble before god, a thirst for righteousness. pure in heart. these are the virtues of those who bear the kingdom. this is the call iing thaw cameo all of us through the voices that spoke at our baptism. today with the words that we pray here in this service, god
calls us, and god calls us forward. using the voices of this community. this afternoon we will bring the earthly remains of betty ford to their resting place. standing near the tomb is a simple black stone bearing these words, "i am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots, and so i ask you to confirm me as your president with your prayers."
ive not campaigned either for the presidency or tvice presidency. i am indebted to no man and only one woman. my dear wife, as i begin this very difficult job. your father offered those words to a nation hungry for leadership. but he also spoke them to your mother. we isolate the power of virtue when we associate it with extraordinary people.
as if virtue was a matter of birth. social privilege or opportunity. the power of virtue lies in the potential of the ordinary. it lies in the potential of any person to act in any situation for the sake of the good. and for what is better. rather than simply for self and for what is convenient. we see it when a man and a woman choose first for each other. we see it when parents choose first for the good of their children. and we see it when people choose first for the good of their
community. while risking their own reputation. in these circumstances, god shows us the extraordinary in the midst of the ordinary. just as we see in a stable in bethlehem. may god bless your mother, as she experiences the nearer presence of our lord. and may god bless each one of you as you walk forward into the days ahead. god is calling you to find the extraordinary in the midst of the ordinary.
may your days be graced by the memory of your mother's smile. and may they be transformed by the light of the resurrection. in the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit. amen. please stand. i believe in god. the father all mighty. maker of heaven and earth. and in jesus christ, his only son, our lord. who has conceived by the holy ghost, born of the virgin mary, suffered under pilot, was crucified, died and buried. he descended into hell.
the third day he rose again from the dead. he ascended into heaven and sit on the right hand of god, the father all mighty. from then he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. i believe in the holy ghost, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins. the resurrection of the body, and the life ever lasting, amen. the lord be with you. >> and also with you. >> let us pray. ♪
>> give courage and faith to those who are bereaved that they may have strength to meet the days ahead in the comfort of a reasonable and holy hope in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love, amen. >> grant, oh lord, to all who are bereaved, the spirit of strength and courage, that they
may have strength to meet the days to come with steadfastness and patient, not sorrowing as those without hope, but in thankful remembrance of your great goodness and in the joyful expectation of eternal life with those they love, in this we ask in the name of jesus christ, our savior. amen. >> all mighty god, father of mercies and giver of comfort, we oh graciously pray with all who mourn. that they may know the consolation of your love, threw jesus christ our lord. grant us grace to entrust mom to thy never failing love. receive her into the arms of thy mercy and remember her according to the favor which thou bearest unto your people.
>> god, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change. courage to change the things i can, and wisdom to no the difference. living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time. accepting hardship as the path way to peace. taking, as he did, this sinful world as it is. not as i would have it. trusting that he will make all things right if i surrender to his will, that i may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with him forever in the next. amen.
oh god, the king of saints, we praise and glorify your holy name for all your servants who have finished their chorus in your faith and fear. for the blessed virgin mary, for the holy pay tr-- and for all y other righteous servants, known to us and unknown. and we pray that encouraged by their examples, aided by their prayers and strengthened by their fellowship we also may be partners of the inheritance of the saints in light.
into thy hands oh merciful savior, we commend your servant betty. acknowledge we beseech thee. a sinner of your own redeeming. receive her into the arms of thy mercy. into the ever rest of lasting peace and into the glorious company of the saints in light. amen. and the blessing of god all mighty, the father, the son, and
original thomas jefferson library and presidential papers from george washington to calvin coolidge, and learn how the library is using technology to discover hidden secrets in their collectionses and preserve holdings for future generations. join us for the library of congress this monday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span. the library holds the personal records of over 900 current and former members of congress. >> in a few moments, today's headlines and your calls live on "washington journal." the house is in session at 9:00 eastern to continue work on the energy and water programs bill. >> coming up live on the "washington journal" -- at 7:40, texas representative john carter, the republican conference secretary, will talk about issues including the debt limit and deficit reduction. limit and deficit reduction. at