Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Officials prepare for Ford to lie in state, Funeral Services planned to take place at The National Cathedral (Episcopal)

The AP reported today that:

WASHINGTON - Officials were preparing tentative plans for President Gerald Ford's body to lie in state this weekend and expected a funeral service after New Year's at National Cathedral capping days of mourning in the capital.

U.S. Capitol Police officers said they were told to prepare for Ford's body to come to the Capitol Rotunda on Saturday, and congressional officials who have been briefed on plans said a public viewing would begin after an arrival ceremony. The cathedral service was expected Tuesday.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the Ford family had not yet signed off on that schedule.

The hallmarks of a presidential state funeral began falling into place a day after the 38th president died at his Rancho Mirage Calif., home, at age 93.

The public was expected to get a first chance to pay respects at a church near Ford's California home, then at the U.S. Capitol and finally in Grand Rapids, Mich., home of his presidential museum and his anticipated place of interment. But funeral plans were not complete.

A senior Republican leadership official said all events related to Ford's funeral in Washington would be finished by Jan. 4, opening day of the 110th Congress, meaning no delay was anticipated in the hand-over of congressional control to Democrats. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because funeral plans were not complete.

Planners are guided by the wishes of the family and any instructions from the president himself on how elaborate the events will be, how much of it takes place in Washington and more. Ford's collegial character and unassuming style in the White House are expected to be reflected in his presidential funeral arrangements.


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