Ceremonies and tributes for former U.S president Gerald Ford begin Friday and last until Wednesday, when he will be interred in a hillside tomb near his presidential museum in his home state of Michigan.
Ford diedTuesday night at his longtime home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., his wife Betty said in a statement.The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, but the 93-year-old had been suffering from heart problems.
A private funeral service for family and close friends of the 38th U.S. president is scheduled for Friday afternoon at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif.
On Saturday, Ford's body will be flown to Washington, D.C.,and arrive at Andrews Air Force Base where it will be taken by motorcade to the U.S. Capitol. The motorcade will pause at the World War II Memorial in joint tribute to the wartime Navy reserve veteran and his comrades in uniform.
Thecasket will thenbe carried up the east steps of the Capitol to the door of the House of Representatives.
Astate funeral will be conducted in the Capitol RotundaSaturday evening.His body willlie in state until Tuesday in a closed casket where the public will be able to pay last respects.
On Tuesday morning, Ford's casket will be moved to the U.S. Senate doorfora period of repose before being moved to the Washington National Cathedral for afuneral service.
Ford's remains lying in repose outside the doors of both the House and the Senate for short periods is a departure from tradition but meant to highlight his long congressional service, a family representative said.
"I know personally how much those two tributes themselves meant to President Ford," said Gregory D. Willard, who detailed arrangements in a news conference.
Ford'sbody will be transported tothe presidential museum in Grand Rapids, Mich., where it will lie in public repose through the night. On Wednesday, funeral services will be held at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids.Ford will thenwill be interred at a hillside site north of the museum.
The nation has witnessed just two presidential state funerals in over three decades — those of Ronald Reagan in 2004 and Lyndon Johnson in 1973.
Richard Nixon's family, acting on his wishes, opted out of the Washington traditions when he died in 1994, his presidency shortened and forever tainted by the Watergate scandal.