“Our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.”
Gerald R. Ford – August 9, 1974
First Day as 38th President of the United States
On August 9, 1974, Gerald R. Ford became President of the United States and immediately set to work. He did not have the luxury of an inauguration ceremony as the country was in conflict, domestically and internationally. Gerald R. Ford’s first day as President and his focus on a nation in crisis are detailed through photographs which include his remarks following being sworn in as President, White House briefings and meetings with International Leaders.
President Gerald R. Ford with
First Lady Betty Ford
The First Family in the Oval Office
Meeting with Ambassadors from the Middle East
Meeting with Republic of South Vietnam Ambassador to the U.S.
While only President for 895 days, Gerald R. Ford led our country through the truly historic years of 1974-1976. The 40 Points bring to life 40 remarkable moments of the Ford White House including President Ford’s address to the VFW Convention detailing an “earned re-entry” policy for Vietnam era draft resisters, the Pardon of Richard Nixon, Betty Ford’s breast cancer surgery, appointment of Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President, Operation Babylift and Operation Frequent Wind, the Helsinki Agreement, surviving two assassination attempts, the New York City Bankruptcy Bailout and the 1976 Presidential General Election.
#1 – Oath of Office
August 9, 1974
Gerald R. Ford takes the Oath of Office in the East Room of the White House becoming the 38th President of the United States. In his swearing-in remarks, President Ford announces “In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end. My fellow Americans, our long, national nightmare is over.” Following the ceremony, President Ford goes immediately to work meeting with Congressional leaders, senior White House staff, senior economic advisors and foreign emissaries.
Permanent exhibits are the core of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. They allow visitors to participate in history, not just view it, while reviewing the highlights of the lives of President and Mrs. Ford. In addition to the permanent exhibits, a succession of temporary exhibits draw upon the rich holdings of the entire Presidential libraries system, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, and others. The Museum also offers approximately 19,000 items connected to the Fords. The artifacts focused on August 9, 1974 include the Bible on which Gerald R. Ford placed his hand for the Oath of Office, the dress worn by Mrs. Betty Ford, commemorative coins and medals.
Gerald R. Ford used this Jerusalem Bible given to him by his son, Mike, for both his Vice Presidential and Presidential swearing-in ceremonies. The Bible features a black cover, white pages with gold leaf trim, and a red ribbon bookmark. The Bible displayed Psalm 19 for the Vice Presidential swearing-in on December 6, 1973, and Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6 for the Presidential swearing-in on August 9, 1974. This Bible then traveled in a display case on the Freedom Train during the American Bicentennial celebrations in 1976.
August 9, 2014 marks the 40th Anniversary of Gerald R. Ford becoming the 38th President of the United States. Throughout the next two and half years, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation will commemorate this anniversary with events and programs highlighting Ford’s numerous accomplishments while in office. The U.S. Congress and State of Michigan commemorated the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford and the extraordinary contributions he made to the United States of America through signed Resolutions and Tributes.
State of Michigan
Gerald R. Ford Facts
Do you know that Gerald R. Ford was born Leslie King? Do you know which teams offered Ford contracts to play in the National Football League following a successful career playing football for the University of Michigan? Do you know what was Ford’s long-time political goal (it was not to become President of the United States)? Find answers to these questions and learn more about Gerald R. Ford before, during and after serving as our nation’s 38th President.
As a young man Gerald R. Ford joined Boy Scout Troop 15 at Trinity Methodist Church and two years later he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the only American President to do so.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public a rich body of archival materials on U.S. domestic issues, foreign relations, and political affairs during the Cold War era. Current holdings include 25 million pages of memos, letters, meeting notes, reports, and other historical documents. Also there are one-half million audiovisual items, including photographs, videotapes of news broadcasts, audiotapes of speeches and press briefings, film of public events, and televised campaign commercials. The history surrounding Gerald R. Ford’s Oath of Office is preserved through documentation including Richard Nixon’s resignation letter, White House Press Releases, White House Schedules, White House Memorandums and White House Press Pool reports on the first days of the Ford Presidency.
Daily Diary of President Gerald R. Ford on August 9th, 1974
Please visit the following resources to learn and explore more in-depth the immense footprint of President Gerald R. Ford and his historic time in the White House.