Susan Ford Bales, daughter of Gerald and Betty Ford and Foundation Trustee, hosted the annual wreath laying at the tomb of Gerald R. Ford at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This ceremony honored the 101st anniversary of the birth of Gerald R. Ford. Susan was joined by former Secretary of State and Foundation Trustee James Baker, Attorney General of the State of Michigan Bill Schuette, Foundation Chairman Red Cavaney, Michigan Army National Guard Brigadier General Phillip Owens, Grand Rapids City Council President Rosalynn Bliss, Ralph Hauenstein, Foundation Executive Director Joseph Calvaruso, Foundation Trustees, Museum and Library Staff, Uncle Dick Ford as well as Grand Rapids friends.
Shortly after the passing of Gerald R. Ford, Mrs. Betty Ford asked that a wreath laying ceremony be conducted on her behalf. This was the 8th consecutive ceremony celebrated on Gerald R. Ford's birthday. Susan thanked James Baker who traveled over 14 hours from across the globe to participate in honoring her father.
Following the presentation of the colors by Grand Rapids Boy Scouts, Boy Scout Whitaker Oosterman led the pledge of allegiance and Grand Rapids Public Safety Officer Wally Tett sang the national anthem. Salvation Army Major Norman Grainger lead the invocation.
Vaden Bales, son-in-law of Gerald and Betty Ford and Foundation Trustee, remarked on the wreath laying ceremony, its importance to the Ford Family and how grateful the Ford Family was in annually remembering their Father and Uncle Jerry with close friends in President Ford's beloved Grand Rapids. Wreaths were then presented at the tomb of Gerald R. Ford from President Barack Obama, the Ford Family, James Baker presented the wreath from members of the Ford White House and Administration, Trustee Bob Hooker with his wife and Councilwoman Bliss presented the wreath on behalf of the City of Grand Rapids. Members of the audience then came forward to share moments of silence at Ford's tomb and present flowers.
Following the wreath and flower presentations, Red Cavaney spoke of the honor that the attendees all shared together, from having known President Ford in various ways, yet they all knew Gerald R. Ford. Cavaney spoke of the new Student Learning Center, soon to be built, that will offer students and researchers the opportunity to further appreciate the legacy of our nation's 38th President.
Grace Episcopal Church Rev. Stephen Holmgren concluded the ceremony with a closing prayer. Greg Willard, Foundation Trustee provided closing remarks and invited all of the attendees to join in the opening of the Museum newest exhibit on aircraft carriers and the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78.