Their was only one person speaking in a whisper-quiet hall, as we filed in. “Thank you for coming on behalf of the family,” he said as he shook my hand, shook my wife’s and gave a smile to my little baby girl, Audrey. I found out after we left the rotunda that his name was Jack Ford, and that he was one of President Ford’s sons. Jack’s wife also smiled at Audrey and thanked us for coming out that day, especially with a baby girl. I suspect that in the somber, respectful room that was President Ford’s temporary resting place, there had been few baby visitors that day, and the sight of one brought a smile to her face.
The Ford family didn’t have to stand there, hour after hour, thanking visitors they didn’t know. They didn’t have to expend that emotional energy during one of life’s most stressful moments, but instead, they infused that moment of silent respect with dignity, grace, and an uncommon consideration for regular people like me.
We had came to the Capitol building to pay our respects to President Ford, but were honored by the respect his family showed us.