Let me ask you something – What would want said about you at your funeral?
Would you want it said that you were a man or woman of the highest degree of integrity? That your word was respected and true? That your character, faith and values had guided your decisions with honor?
I have to confess that I did not know a lot about Gerald Ford before this week. But when former President George H.W. Bush remarked, “To political ally and adversary alike, Jerry Ford’s word was always good,” I was reminded that we are all judged in the end on the basis of our integrity and the trust we instill in others.
I thought the national funeral service for President Gerald R. Ford today was an impressive display of the great tradition of American State funerals. But more than that, I found the words of President George W. Bush, former President George H.W. Bush, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw to be very enlightening and inspiring for the nation as a whole.
President George W. Bush said today, “In President Ford, the world saw the best of America, and America found a man whose character and leadership would bring calm and healing to one of the most divisive moments in our nation’s history.”
Brokaw chose to address President Ford at times as “Citizen Ford,” a comment on the fact that his greatness had hailed from his generational place in history – a proud member of the Greatest Generation.
“The personal rewards of his citizenship and his presidency were far richer than he had anticipated in every sense of the phrase. But the greatest rewards of Jerry Ford’s time were reserved for his fellow Americans and the nation he loved,” Brokaw said.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from President Ford’s eulogies this morning at the National Cathedral. And one of your new year’s resolutions to be:
Trust most in your integrity and make decisions by which someday they will say that your word was your honor and your actions made the world a better place.
Happy New Year!