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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 17:17 GMT
Tributes paid at Ford's funeral
Coffin in National Cathedral in Washington
More than 3,000 people attended the service
US leaders past and present have paid tribute to the 38th US President, Gerald Ford, at his funeral service in Washington DC.

President George W Bush said the world had seen the best of America in Mr Ford, who brought calm and healing to the nation after the Watergate scandal.

Mr Ford became president after Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, and served from 1974 to 1977.

He died last week at 93, after becoming the longest-living US president.

In President Ford, the world saw the best of America...
President George Bush

After the funeral, the coffin was taken away for a private family ceremony and burial near Mr Ford's presidential library in his home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tuesday has been designated as a national day of mourning.

Mr Ford died on 26 December in California. He lay in state in Washington's Capitol building from Saturday until Tuesday morning.

'Integrity'

A 21-gun salute rang out and a military band played as Mr Ford's coffin was carried down the steps of the Capitol and driven off to the National Cathedral.

The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says the streets were lined with people as his motorcade went past.

Gerald Ford in 1974
I thought when he pardoned Nixon he stood up and did what the country needed
John Banks, mourner

The coffin was escorted by Vice-President Dick Cheney, former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Mr Ford's running mate in his failed 1976 presidential campaign, ex-Senator Bob Dole.

President Bush arrived at the funeral arm-in-arm with Mr Ford's widow Betty, before reading a eulogy.

"In President Ford, the world saw the best of America and America found a man whose character and leadership would bring calm and healing to one of the most divisive moments in our nation's history," he said.

George Bush Senior - President Bush's father - spoke of a life indelibly marked by honour and integrity.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Gerald Ford restored confidence in American institutions and its purposes.

Jimmy Carter, who defeated Mr Ford in 1976, also attended the service.

Mr Ford took office as public trust in the White House plummeted in the wake of the Watergate scandal and as the US eyed defeat in Vietnam.

Many mourners at the Capitol remembered his most difficult decision - pardoning Mr Nixon of any crimes committed during his presidency, a decision analysts say probably cost him the 1976 election.

John Banks from Georgia told the Associated Press: "I thought when he pardoned Nixon he stood up and did what the country needed, not what would further his political career."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Mourners pay last respects to Gerald Ford



SEE ALSO
Gerald Ford: Life in pictures
27 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Ford longest-living US president
13 Nov 06 |  Americas
Obituary: Gerald Ford
27 Dec 06 |  Americas
In pictures: Gerald Ford funeral
02 Jan 07 |  In Pictures

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