Ford, Lately

ford-exterior.jpeg Something Will Turn Up

Things are twice as nice at the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. Attendance doubled in the last year.

The Ford is experiencing American’s traditional “death bump” in Presidential Library visiting, as citizens recall old whats-his-name after endless coverage of their “state funerals.”

And not a moment too soon.

The Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum has seen its attendance plummet nearly 60 percent during the last six years.”

The Ford, as always, holds it’s totemic objects, symbolic items which sending us swirling back to that magical, and above all, decent, time.

ford-siagon-stairs.JPG Who can forget the fall of Saigon, as evacuees descended from the US Embassy roof to waiting helicopters.

ford-berlin-wall-piece.JPG The Berlin Wall stood menacingly when Ford assumed the Presidency, and, um, continued to do so when he left office. And he sent the first US Ambassador to the East German government.

ford-mayaguez-wheel.JPG The centerpiece of the Ford Era, the touchstone of an all too brief generation, must be the wheel from the Mayaguez.

The American ship was seized off Cambodia shortly after the fall of Phenom Pen and Saigon. Bombs dropped, Marines died, and sailors were freed. In the Ford myth, repeated at his funeral, he “kicked that Vietnam syndrome” a decade before the elder Bush.

But not really.

“The crew of the Mayaguez was never held on Koh Tang island, the island that was invaded by the US Marine Corps...The Cambodians had announced that they intended to return the vessel, and had indeed done so while the bombardment of Cambodian territory was continuing, during which time the crew was being held unharmed on quite another island, named Rong Sam Lem. President Ford’s statement, claiming credit for the release and attributing it to the intervention on the wrong island, was knowingly false….American casualties were larger than has ever been admitted; twenty-three men were pointlessly sacrificed in a helicopter crash in Thailand that was never acknowledged as part of the operation. Thus, sixty-four servicemen were killed to free forty sailors who had already been let go, and who were not and never had been at the advertised location…As a result of the panic and disorder, three Marines were left behind alive on Koh Tang island, and later captured and murdered by the Khmer Rouge. You will not find the names of Lance Cpl. Joseph Hargrove, Pfc. Gary Hall or Pvt. Danny Marshall on any memorial.”

The Ford statue is another step closer to gracing the Capitol, unless you help.

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