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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 December 2006, 00:12 GMT
Ford state funeral plans revealed
Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford served as president for more than two years
A state funeral has been announced for former US President Gerald Ford, who died late on Tuesday aged 93.

The funeral services will begin on Friday in California where he lived and the late president will then lie in state in Washington over the weekend.

Mr Ford's body will be interred in a tomb in Michigan on Wednesday.

President Bush led tributes to Mr Ford, the longest living US president, saying he helped restore confidence in his office after the Watergate scandal.


The main state funeral service for Mr Ford will be in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington on Saturday evening.

His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country
Betty Ford

His body will then lie in state there for two days before being transferred to a place just outside the Senate chamber.

A funeral service will be held at the National Cathedral before Mr Ford's casket is taken to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be interred at the Gerald Ford Museum.

The US flag is to be flown at half-mast outside the White House and other government and military buildings for the next 30 days.

Mr Bush led tributes to the 38th president.

Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Mr Bush remembered President Ford as a "gentleman who reflected the best in America's character".

President Ford was a dad when America needed one badly. Thanks dad. Rest in peace
Chris Irvine, New York

In a televised address, Mr Bush said Americans "came to know President Ford as a man of complete integrity".

He added: "For a nation that needed healing... Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most."

Mr Ford took office after Richard Nixon quit over the Watergate scandal in 1974.

He served for two years but lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976, a year after the US accepted defeat in the Vietnam War.

Mr Bush's words of praise were echoed by Vice-President Dick Cheney, who was at one time Gerald Ford's chief-of-staff.

Mr Cheney said Mr Ford gave the country the strength, wisdom and good judgement it needed as it faced its greatest constitutional crisis since the civil war.

Candles, flags and flowers are placed by the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan
People placed flags and flowers outside the Gerald Ford Museum

In Michigan, a makeshift shrine formed outside the Gerald Ford Museum as a steady stream of people lit candles and laid flowers and flags.

Gerald Ford lived with his wife Betty, 88, at Rancho Mirage, about 130 miles (210km) east of Los Angeles in southern California.

The former president had suffered ill health this year and was taken to hospital four times for tests and angioplasty. He suffered a stroke in 2000.

Last month he became the longest-living US president when he reached 93 years and 122 days, passing the record held by President Ronald Reagan.

Vietnam War

Gerald Ford was chosen as Richard Nixon's vice-president in 1973, when Spiro Agnew resigned amid corruption charges.

Nixon and Ford
Ford succeeded Nixon and brought honesty to the White House
Mr Ford then succeeded to the top job when Nixon resigned over Watergate - the scandal over a break-in at the offices of the rival Democratic party in Washington in 1972.

On taking office, Mr Ford declared the "national nightmare" of the Nixon scandal over - but soon after revived the debate by controversially granting his former boss a pardon for any crimes committed as president.

Analysts believe in the short term it may have cost him the 1976 election, although in the long term the gesture may have helped heal the country.

Mr Ford was in office as the US accepted its defeat in the Vietnam War, with the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

A look back at the life of Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford: Life in pictures
27 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Ford longest-living US president
13 Nov 06 |  Americas
Gerald Ford in hospital for tests
13 Oct 06 |  Americas
US ex-President Ford in hospital
16 Aug 06 |  Americas
Doctors confident of Ford recovery
03 Aug 00 |  Americas

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