Here’s a short post on my visit to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, when taking a detour of sorts on my way back to Detroit from northern Michigan. I’m a fan of U.S. presidential museums and homes, visiting many over the years.
I actually met Gerald Ford when he was president during a summer job as a student. I was working backstage at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, where he came to greet his campaign supporters right after his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter in 1976. Before taking the stage, he was nice enough to stop for a minute and say hello to me and two other colleagues, wishing us luck at the hotel which was previously in the news because of the “Legionnaires’ Disease” outbreak. It was a thrilling moment for me!
The museum highlights Ford’s life from childhood and college years as an exceptional student and athlete, attending Yale University Law School and his service in the U.S. Navy. And that of course was followed serving in the U.S. House of Representatives in leadership roles, as Vice President and then President.
Museum highlights include Ford’s statue outside the building, his replica Oval Office, and the actual metal stairwell once atop the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, used to evacuate the building by helicopter after Ford ended the occupation in Vietnam.