Hello, history and government buffs!
… if there are any government buffs still out there.
Grand Rapids, Michigan has very little to show in political history except for the being the city in which Leslie Lynch King Jr. was raised and years later buried. Why does this guy not sound familiar? Because his name was later changed by his mother and stepfather to Gerald Rudolff Ford, Jr., the 38th president of the United States. I know, the one not officially elected in; he just defaulted to presidency when Richard Nixon was forced ti resign when he decided to hanky-panky with evidence to cover up the C.R.E.E.P.s and that whole Watergate snafu.
In fact, Ford was previously ushered in to the vice-presidency when Nixon’s VP, Agnew, resigned due to some tax evasion charges. Talk about turbulent times in American government. This is the only man in U.S. history to be both Vice President and President without the public voting him in to either office. Is that something to be proud of?
Grand Rapids thinks so, because they have a special place for GERALD R. FORD’S GRAVESITE- 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI.
It’s right next to the Gerald R. Ford Museum (re-opening in June 2016, that blog post will have to come later), which is not too far from the Gerald R. Ford freeway… and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport… and the various Gerald R. Ford statues around town.
You get the idea.
He was also the longest lived president we ever had, so that is something to be proud of as well, I suppose.
The museum and gravesite are very close to downtown Grand Rapids and Ah-Nab-Awen Park (and therefore near “The Spirit of Solidarity” Monument), so on a warm, sunny day, it makes for a tranquil visit. I happen to go on a mildly-warm, windy day, so it was not as tranquil as it could have been.
But it is grandiose, none the less. There is a black fence with open gates surrounding the burial sites.
Whether or not you approved of him as a president (and despite at least two assassination attempts in his hardly more than half a term), Ford was thanked by his presidential successor, Jimmy Carter, for “all he has done to heal our land” and is noted for his work after his presidency.
Besides, the two guys we had elected both turned out to be crooks, so clearly our judgment could not be trusted.
After exiting through the north entrance, look to your left and you will see this in the distance.
This big red button, entitled “Lorrie’s Button,” was created by industrial design professor Hy Zelkowtiz and installed for the bicentennial celebration in 1976. It won the designer an international playground sculpture award and $500.
Hey, $500 meant a lot more in 1976 than it does now.
In 2015, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. paid for the button to be refurbished to the shiny one you see today.
So, if you are in the area, pay your tribute to the poor man whom our country had leading us through such political drama. Then go climb around on a big, red button like a needle and thread.
Until next time, dahlings…