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Gerald R. Ford: He did it!
by Amin George Forji
2006-11-14 10:46:24
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Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the USA (1974–1977), became the longest-living American president on Sunday when he reached 93 years and 121 days. The record was formerly held by President Ronald Reagan, who died on July 5th 2004, and lived to 93 years and 120 days.

In a public statement last week from his Rancho Mirage compound, and first released by Circle, Ford wrote the following: "I thank God for the gift of every sunrise and, even more, for all the years he has blessed me with Betty and the children, with our extended family and the friends of a lifetime." However, he gave little premium to his imminent record, "The length of one's days matters less than the love of one's family and friends."

Until now, Ford holds another precious White House record unlikely to be broken, which is becoming American President and Vice-President but having never been elected. Coming to office in the wake of Richard Nixon’s resignation and conscious of the fact that he had not been elected, Ford made the following admission in his inauguration speech, "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers."

He was not lucky enough to retain the presidency after his first term, as Jimmy Carter defeated him in the November 1976 presidential election, officially replacing him in January 1977.

Until now, Bess Truman, who died in 1982 aged 97, holds the record for the longest-living former First Lady, but Lady Bird Johnson will be 94 in under a month and is currently the oldest former first lady still alive.

Ford’s health has not been at its best this year. He has been hospitalized on four different occasions this year for pneumonia, angioplasty surgery and medical attention for shortness of breath. With his wife and former First Lady Betty Ford, 88, by his side, he surely does not have too much about which to worry.

Congratulations Mr. Ford and best wishes for many more years!

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