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Virtual commemoration planned to honor President Ford’s 107th birthday today

President Gerald R. Ford's gravesite pictured at The Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 (Neil Blake | MLive.com/TNS)
July 14, 2020

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation will host virtual events in honor of President Ford’s 107th birthday on Tuesday, July 14.

Virtual events, due to coronavirus pandemic, will include Facebook Live videos of the annual wreath laying ceremony and a panel discussion for the first-ever children’s book about Ford.

The commemoration will start at 9 a.m. with a Facebook Live of the wreath laying ceremony at the Gerald R. Ford and Betty B. Ford burial site on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. The ceremony will be available to the public on the Foundation’s Facebook page.

President Gerald Ford and Betty Ford stand in front of the White House Christmas tree in 1974. White House Archives via the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
(Lauren Gibbons/mlive.com/TNS)

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The ceremony is a combination of two traditions: a long-standing tradition of observing each deceased president’s birthday, during which the sitting president sends a wreath to be presented by a military officer and the second is the presentation of a wreath from the Ford family.

President Donald Trump’s wreath will be placed by Brig. General Paul Rogers. For the personal tribute from the Ford family, established by first lady Betty Ford in 2007, the family’s wreath will be placed by President Ford’s nieces and nephews.

After the ceremony, the Army Chorus will perform a virtual choral tribute.

A children’s book about Ford will also be released to the public. Titled “Truth and Honor: The President Ford Story,” written by Lindsey McDivitt, the book is a biography about Ford from early childhood to his presidency in the 1970s.

The Foundation will host a Facebook Live panel discussion at 7 p.m. on the Foundation’s Facebook page. The virtual discussion features McDivitt and the Ford brothers, Mike and Steve, candidly sharing childhood memories of their parents and the lessons they learned from them.

McDivitt will speak on what inspired her to write “Truth and Honor,” and the importance of high quality children’s books that teach history and provide role models.

The panel presentation will later be archived on the Foundation’s DeVos Learning Center website to be viewed any time.

The book is now available online and in select bookstores, including Schuler Books. To purchase your copy of “Truth and Honor” online, visit Amazon.com and Sleeping Bear Press.

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© 2020 MLive.com