One of America's "good Presidents" died today. Gerald Ford, who became the first and only unelected President of the United States when Richard Nixon resigned from office (Ford had been nominated by Nixon and confirmed by the US Senate to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew, who had resigned earlier), was not a great President but was a good one and a good man as well.
His brief Presidency featured two dramatic events.
First was his almost immediate pardon of Nixon from any and all crimes he may have committed (while controversial at the time it has since become widely affirmed as a wise, long-sighted, and correct decision).
Second were the two unsuccessful assassination attempts made on Ford in a three-week period by two women, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (in San Francisco) and Sara Jane Moore (in Sacramento) in the fall of 1975.
Ford is also unique in that he did not seek the Presidency but accepted the office (it was widely believed that Nixon would not complete his second term when Ford was appointed VP) out of a sincere desire to serve his country and lead it through one of the worst crises in its history.
He led simply and, in many areas he led with hesitation and uncertainty (consider his approach to the "Swine Flu," his Edsel-like "WIN" ("Whip Inflation Now") program, and misplaced (and uninspiring) honesty(?) in his 1975 state of the union address when he declared, "the state of the union is not good."
Among his virtues I suppose the one that stands out the most was his sincere humility. Ford did not seek the limelight of fame and popularity either during his presidency or after his retirement from public office.
Ford was a quiet, uncomplicated and honest man. He may not have been great… but he was good.
And that is more than enough to justify honoring him on the occasion of his passing.
Footnote: Ford recently passed Ronald Reagan as the longest living former President.