City of Alexandria, VA
Page updated May 21, 2013 12:00
Commemorating President Gerald R. Ford
President Gerald R. Ford’s connection with Alexandria was remembered in a number of ways following his death on December 26, 2006.
His funeral plans, established several years before his death, called for the motorcade to pass through the City of Alexandria in remembrance of his long residency here. On the evening of December 30, 2006, President Ford’s funeral procession passed through Alexandria as it traveled from Andrews Air Force Base en route to the U.S. Capitol.
Hundreds of Alexandrians lined the streets to say farewell to one of their most famous residents, and to pay respects to the Ford family. As the long motorcade proceeded northward on Washington Street, mourners were moved to see Mrs. Ford wave to the crowd. Some placed their hands over their hearts as the President’s hearse passed, and others gave a military salute. Some in the crowd applauded, but most stood in respectful silence.
That week, Mayor William D. Euille announced plans for a process for the City to commemorate President Ford and his strong affection for his adopted hometown. Mayor Euille appointed a committee chaired by former Councilman David G. Speck and comprised of Ferdinand Day, Jessica Gibson, Pat Troy and Donnan C. Wintermute. In October 2007, the committee, after considering many suggestions from the public, recommended a new park, not far from where the Ford family had lived, be named in honor of President Ford and that a street associated with the new open space also be named for him.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved a new street off Janney’s Lane, originally designated as Barecroft Place, be renamed President Ford Lane. The City Council approved a new open space at 1422-1426 Janney’s Lane, at the southeast corner of North Quaker Lane, be named President Gerald R. Ford Park.
President Ford’s association with the Masons is also commemorated in Alexandria at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. On February 17, 1975, President Ford was at the Masonic Memorial for the unveiling of the bronze Gerald R. Ford Masonic Medallion and plaque now displayed in the auditorium. Also on display at the Memorial is a football from the East-West Shrine game bearing the autograph “Gerald Ford”. An exceptional athlete and star football player at the University of Michigan, a young Jerry Ford played for the East in the East-West Shrine Game in 1935.