Flag lowered at Ford museum
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A small crowd watched as the American flag slowly was lowered and removed from the flagpole outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, then carefully folded by 11 Boy Scouts.The ceremony, held Thursday at dusk, marked the end of a month of mourning for the former president.The flag, which had flown at half-staff since Ford’s death on Dec. 26, will become part of the downtown museum’s permanent collection. A new flag was raised in its place.Marty Allen, chairman emeritus of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, thanked the Scouts and told them how much their organization meant to Ford, the only president ever to have attained the rank of Eagle Scout. The region’s Boy Scout Council bears his name.
“I don’t see it as a closure,” Allen said. “I see the raising of a new flag as what lies ahead. I see it as a renewal, a going forward.”With temperatures in the mid-teens, East Grand Rapids resident Kris Yared stood and watched as her Eagle Scout son, Alex, 17, helped fold the flag.”I’ve been very proud that he is a part of this. I have been very proud of how this city has responded,” she told The Grand Rapids Press.Ford is buried on the museum grounds, just north of the building alongside the Grand River. Dozens of people stop each day to view the grave site.An estimated 100,000 people in the last month have signed the museum’s condolence books, which will be packaged and sent to Ford’s family. Paid attendance at the museum is expected to reach 30,000 in January – more than half the annual total of some years.Ford’s presidential library is in Ann Arbor on the campus of the University of Michigan.
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