Funeral services for former President Gerald Ford take placePosted: Updated:
PALM DESERT, Cali. - Funeral services for former President Gerald Ford are underway in Palm Desert, California. The eyes of the nation were on St. Margaret's Church where the Ford family gathered inside for a private visitation service to say goodbye to the nation's 38th president.
The Ford family arrived at their longtime parish for the first portion of an elaborate state funeral. It is the first time since the death of her husband that Betty Ford has been seen in public.
After the private ceremony the public was invited to a closed casket viewing. Organizers expect thousands of mourners to pay their respects. An outpuring of support from this desert community where the Ford's have lived for three decades.
Funeral services will continue when President Ford's remains are sent to Washington. Vice President Dick Cheney will play a prominent role in the memorial despite new revelations that President Ford criticized him in 2004 for his role in the war in Iraq.
The body will lie in repose through the night. The church will remain open for public viewing. Tomorrow morning a motorcade will transport the remains to the airport where a presidental aircraft will take ford to Washington.
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