Press/Journalists

Press Release
December 27, 2006

Special Display at the National Archives Remembers President Ford

Washington, DC…The National Archives honors the memory of President Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States, with a document display featuring Congressman Ford's First Oath of Office and President Ford's Final State of the Union Address.  The documents will be on display from Thursday, December 28, 2006 through Thursday, January 11, 2007 in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Building, which is located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW, and is open from 10 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. daily, including New Year’s Day. The Rotunda will be open on Tuesday, January 2, 2007.

Please Note: no artificial light may be used on the documents.

Congressman Ford's First Oath of Office, January 3, 1949
Ford was elected to the U.S. Congress from the Fifth District of Michigan for the first time in 1948; he was re-elected 12 times.
National Archives, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
Exhibited with the permission of U.S. House of Representatives

President Gerald R. Ford's Final State of the Union Address, January 12, 1977
At the end of this address, delivered before a Joint Session of Congress, President Ford reminisced about the first time he stood in the House chamber and took the oath of office as a young Congressman: 

It is not easy to end these remarks.  In this Chamber, along with some of you, I have experienced many, many of the highlights of my life.  It was here that I stood 28 years ago with my freshman colleagues, as Speaker Sam Rayburn administered the oath... It was here we waged many, many a lively battle--won some, lost some, but always remaining friends.  It was here, surrounded by such friends, that the distinguished Chief Justice swore me in as Vice President on December 6, 1973.  It was here I returned 8 months later as your President to ask not for a honeymoon, but for a good marriage.

National Archives, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
Exhibited with the permission of the U.S. House of Representatives

Background

Gerald R. Ford assumed the Presidency in 1974, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, a Constitutional crisis that had pitted President Nixon against the Congress, the Supreme Court, and the press.  The national trauma had exposed a trail of abuses leading all the way into the White House, shaking public confidence and sullying national symbols of authority.  On August 9, 1974, when Nixon resigned the Presidency under threat of impeachment, Vice President Ford became President.

"Our long national nightmare is over," assured President Ford on taking the oath of office. His honesty, integrity and openness helped to restore the people's confidence in the Presidency and in the government's institutions. At the end of his term, in January 1977, as he prepared to leave a Presidency that lasted 2½ years and a career in government that spanned nearly three decades, he reaffirmed his abiding faith in the U.S. Constitution, in the wisdom of the nation's founders who were its authors, and in the American people:

I have come to understand and to place the highest value on the checks and balances which our founders imposed on government through the separation of powers . . .
The Constitution is the bedrock of all our freedoms; guard and cherish it; keep honor and order in your own house; and the Republic will endure.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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