Ford Celebrating Birthday Here

June 20, 2003
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — President Gerald R. Ford will be honored in his hometown of Grand Rapids on July 30 with a community picnic and celebration of his 90th birthday in Ah Nab Awen Park.

The celebration will feature a program with remarks by President Ford, performances by the U.S. Army Chorus and 126th Army Band of the Michigan Army National Guard, vocalist Michael Amante, booths serving free hot dogs, hamburgers and other food, free birthday cake and lemonade and a photo taken of the former president with a large group of children under 10 years of age. A special fly-over of U.S. military F-16 jets has been requested.

Festivities are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m., beginning with music by the 126th Army Band of the Michigan Army National Guard and booths serving food in the park. A brief program featuring remarks by President Ford and other dignitaries and songs by the Army Chorus, Army Band and Amante is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. After the singing of “Happy Birthday,” the celebration will conclude with the cutting of a birthday cake and free cake and lemonade.

“Our entire country will honor President Ford on and around the milestone birthday on July 14, but we wanted to have our own celebration in his hometown to show how deeply we appreciate his many years of service to our country and specifically our community,” said Peter Secchia, chairman of the organizing committee for the celebration. “This is a community-wide celebration so we’re inviting everyone to join us in wishing President Ford a happy 90th birthday.”

President Ford’s homecoming will be his first opportunity to tour the recently opened addition to the Ford Museum, including a life-size replica of the Cabinet Room.

He will also view the new Michigan Room classroom and new temporary exhibit space, which will be hosting one of the original Declaration of Independence documents that was circulated throughout the colonies in 1776.

“This grand opening tour by President Ford of the museum’s new addition and renovation will be a culmination of a number of exciting activities in July celebrating his 90th birthday,” said Marty Allen, chairman of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation. “Beginning with traditional family activities on the 4th of July, the Declaration of Independence exhibit on July 11 and a variety of other activities, all these are tributes to President Ford’s love for our country and this community.”           

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