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Remembering Gerald Ford: Your e-mails

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(CNN) -- Former President Gerald Ford, who became president in 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon, died Tuesday at 93.

We asked readers to share their tributes and memories. Here is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

Mark Pumphrey of Denver, Colorado
I was 24 years old when [Ford] replaced Richard Nixon. What I remember is that he cooled my cynicism and gave me a sense of presence, honesty, and hope. What his wife gave me was the realization that anybody can be an alcoholic. The way they have conducted their lives with both transparency and integrity makes me yearn for that kind of leadership now.

Jay Alhadeff of Long Beach, California
My heart goes out to the Ford Family and [I] thank them for his service to our nation. As a liberal Democrat, I actually admired Ford for his honor, integrity and effort to do what he thought was right when it might not have been the popular thing to do. Rest in Peace.

Teresa Merau of Odessa, Missouri
I would have thought he was a great man of integrity, had he not committed the unforgivable sin of pardoning Richard Nixon. He lost all his "attaboys" for that one defiant act.

Brian Lembo of Wethersfield, Connecticut
My memory of President Ford dates back to just after he lost the election to President Carter. I was 15 at the time, and I sent him a letter telling him how I respected the job he did and how sorry I was he lost the election. He responded with a personal letter signed in his own handwriting, thanking me on behalf of him and his wife. With all that was happening in his final month in the White House I was very impressed and excited that he would take the time to respond to a "kid."

Robert Barrie of Lansing, Michigan
My parents grew up in the same neighborhood with Gerry Ford, in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, during the 1930's and 1940's... My grandfather, Stanton Ellett, was a proud Republican and the principal at East Grand Rapids High School, and taught history and government. [My grandmother] used to remind us that her husband provided tutoring to a young member of the U.S. House of Representatives after Mr. Ford was elected to Congress, and had Mr. Ford as a student in his civics classes. My family is proud of their connections with the Ford family, and happy to have known them 60 years ago.

Ted Drozda of St. Louis, Missouri
The pardon of former President Nixon did nothing to bring the dignity back to the Oval Office. We lost respect throughout the international community and began the great decline of the United States' status as a leader.

Howard Egan of Ukiah, California
He brought honesty and honor back to the White House. He was needed at the time.

Kathleen Kerr of Erie, Pennsylvania
President Gerald Ford was probably the least pretentious president we've had. He was real. He was soothing after the disastrous era of Nixon.

Jay Schemmel of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Ford was one of our best presidents, but he is also an Eagle Scout, he supported Scouting and is an example of what Scouting can do for young boys and girls. My family and my three boys are Scouts and will be there at the Ford Museum to pay our respects, Thank You Mr. Ford for all you have done for this Nation and Scouting. To Mrs. Ford for her support -- God Bless.

Jake Barnes of Houston, Texas
I will remember him as a man who tried to heal a nation, but set it off in the wrong direction. His pardon of Nixon says that he put public relations and political favors ahead of truth and justice... I think he tried to do what he thought was best, but in the future I hope we can have leaders who place truth, regardless of how unpleasant it may be, above all else.

Allan White of Davidson, North Carolina
I graduated from high school the year he became president. I recall him having a calming demeanor. My best personal reflection is on the opportunity I had to "meet" him in 1976. I was an airman stationed at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas when President Ford came as part of his campaign tour. He greeted a number of the airmen on the flight line and had the very brief opportunity to shake the hand of history.

Chris Spehert of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I think Ford was a decent man, but a lackluster president. I don't think that his pardon of Nixon was the wrong move. I believe that he did what he did so that the country could move forward. What good could have come from flogging a dead horse while the country was falling apart?

Christina Blair of Strafford, New Hampshire
I will remember President Ford as a good man who cared about the people. He worked very hard to get us through the Post-Watergate times. His humor and grace will be missed. God Bless the President and Mrs. Ford.

Gary Ballis of Akron, Ohio
A man of integrity and the only Republican I have voted for major office.

Paul Leonhardt of Hickory, North Carolina
President Ford was a patriot who served his country well. In the height of scandal he was asked to serve and did with dignity and poise. I remember as a pre-teen how I was worried about what effect Nixon resigning would have during the cold war and felt comfort in how President Ford's statesmanship was steady and reassuring.

Jeffrey Kress of Old Bridge, New Jersey
He was a nice guy and very likeable, [but] his pardoning of Nixon was wrong. It showed the country that if you are important enough you can get away with anything.

Bob Flisser of Flemington, New Jersey
Gerry Ford was a good man who did his life's best work after leaving the White House -- working with Jimmy Carter, another former president of whom the same can be said.

David Brogren of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
As great a human being as Mr. Ford was, his presidency was and is forever stained by his pardon of Richard Nixon. At that time, as now, it seemed prearranged to save Mr. Nixon from further scrutiny and possible prosecution. In my mind that was a mighty high price to pay to sit in the seat of the president for two years.

Karen Frazier of Nitro, West Virginia
I was 15 years old when President Nixon resigned. All my (immature) beliefs were shaken. I remember President Ford assuming power and people saying democracy was dead because he was the first president not to have been elected. He displayed courage and grace in pardoning Nixon so that the country could "get on with our daily lives." I'll never forget him.

Mark Northern of Chattanooga, Tennessee
I was a junior at Altus High School [in Oklahoma] and on the newspaper staff. Several of us got press passes to go see President Ford speak at the airport in Lawton. He was on his way to attend the Texas-Oklahoma game and made a witty remark about how his opponent (Jimmy Carter) would find some way to sit on both sides at the same time. Carter would go on to win the election, but Ford always had that presidential gravitas that has been sorely lacking in recent years.

Renee Beck-Arnold of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When I was 4, my dad took me to the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport to see President Ford. I remember being on my dad's shoulders looking out over the crowd. He got out of the plane and the crowd went wild. He came over to the fences to shake hands and he shook my hand. It was very thrilling. I was of course very interested in President Ford from then on. In college, I became a political science major, probably because of the experience 15 years earlier.

Cecil Foster of Richmond, Virginia
Gerald Ford took the helm at a time when no being, human or divine, could have survived the remaining term he served unscathed. He brought a needed touch of humility and common courtesy to a battered and worn image the U.S. presidency radiated in those trying days. His actions did much to wipe away the tarnish accumulated in the previous years and set the tone for those who closely followed him.

Bob Krause of Jacksonville, Florida
For all the graceful eulogies pouring in, no one has brought up what I and many Americans remember as Ford's most noteworthy, if not notorious, political endeavor. He is widely regarded as the author of the Warren Commission, the "official" verdict of the assassination of JFK. Through his remaining years, Ford staunchly defended the commission's findings, including the lone gunman and the "magic bullet" scenario, amid ever growing public skepticism. While unfair, the physical bumbling and stumbling episodes later during his Presidency only seemed to enhance a perception that he was goofy and could be easily duped, giving rise to conspiracy theories.

Daniel S. of Omaha, Nebraska
My father is a life-long Republican; I am a Democrat. We do not talk about politics, but we are very close. When Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in '76, my father cried. I think it was more than politics. Gerald Ford was a great human being, a very special man. I will miss him. My own eyes are tearing up as I write this.

Timothy Smith of Indianapolis, Indiana
I was almost 14 years old when President Ford took over for Nixon. Although I have been life long democrat, I admired this man a lot... President Ford was a great man. He truly helped heal the nation after Watergate. God Bless you Mr. Ford. Reap your rewards on high.

Ken Weaver of Pocono Lake, Pennsylvania
I remember Gerald Ford as a great "healer." The nation was torn apart by Watergate and the impending impeachment of President Nixon. While I did not agree with the Pardon (and I was a staunch Republican), I came to see the wisdom of ending the whole Nixon nightmare.

Carlos Navarro of Miami, Florida
Democrats and Republicans alike should emulate his demeanor, his kindness, and his decency. He was the unfortunate recipient of undeserved backlash which led to another decent presidency that nearly ruined us. I am saddened by his passing and hope he receives a state funeral with highest honors.

Beth Ann Newton of Greencastle, Indiana
During my first year in college at Indiana State University, I was invited to a dinner with President Ford, who was delivering convocation later that evening. I had the great honor of sitting at his table, and had a delightful conversation with him. We laughed because my family were staunch democrats, but he had been appointed, not elected, so we thought it was okay if we were friends. He was a gentleman that evening, as always.

Harry Hager of San Marcos, Texas
I lived in the Washington D.C. area during the Watergate era and as a member of the U.S. Army Band frequently performed at the White House. I had the day off when it was announced that President Nixon would resign shortly. Though Gerald Ford was Vice President, his name was still in the suburban Virginia phone book so I decided to drive though his residential neighborhood. As one may imagine, the entire area was cordoned off. Two years later when President Ford lost his only bid for the presidency, I sent him a letter expressing my admiration for him and for his effort. I received a personal, hand-written reply. This seemed to have been consistent with his reputation for representing the common man.

John Wright of Oceanside, New York
Back in the 1980's I worked at Shearson Lehman Hutton in the operations area. Gerald Ford was on the board of directors of the company. One day Gerald Ford went on a tour of the vault, or the "cage" as it is known in those days... When Gerald Ford approached the guard stand, the guard offered to waive the requirement to remove your jacket and submit to a search. Gerald Ford said he was no better than anyone else and he removed his jacket and let the guard search him. He even allowed the guards to take a photo and for many years until Citigroup took over Shearson Lehman Huttton that big picture hung over the guard stand and underneath it was written the following words "everyone gets searched, even PRESIDENTS!"

Larry S. of Hunstville, Alabama
I'll remember him for the humor he added, both intentional and unintentional, to the presidency -- from hitting people with golf balls, to stumbling around, to the hilarious moment on "Saturday Night Live" when (parodying Chevy Chase) he said "Good evening, I'm Gerald Ford, and you're not."

Lori Talo captured this early-morning image of a vigil outside of the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.



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