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He was named Leslie Lynch King, Jr. at birth. When his divorced mother remarried, he was adopted by his stepfather and named Gerald R. Ford after him. He was known as "Jerry." President Ford didn’t know he was adopted until he was 12 years old. A second source says 17 years old.

He was all city (Grand Rapids) and all state in football. He was also was the center on the University of Michigan Football Team. He also played linebacker. Ford was the MVP of the Michigan team. He was MVP on a team with a record of 1 and 7.

He served from 1942-1946 he served in the U.S. Navy during WW II. His ship took part in most of the major battles. (Wake Island, Okinawa, and the Philippines.) He was a decorated Naval officer. Gerald was awarded ten battle stars for naval battles in the pacific.

While he was a congressman he bought a Polaroid Camera. They had just been invented and the camera printed a picture instantly. When people from his home district came to visit he would have their picture taken with him as a souvenir. If he wasn’t in his office he allow people to sit at his desk and one of his aids would take their picture.

When Nixon was getting ready to resign, he call Ford to the White House. The two shook hands and sat down. There was silence in the room and Nixon turned to Ford and said: "I know you will do well." At that moment Ford knew Nixon was resigning and he would become president. The next day Nixon resigned.

Gerald R. Ford was the only president not elected by the people as either vice president or president. Therefore, he is the only President to not run for the Presidency or Vice Presidency and become President. As one book states he was the first un-elected President. He was the Speaker of the House and replace Vice President Agnew when he resigned and then replace Richard Nixon when he resigned.

On September 8, 1974, President Ford granted a pardon to Richard Nixon. Ford was highly criticized for pardoning Nixon and his popularity rating dropped quickly. Ford felt it was the only want to put the Watergate scandal behind him and the nation.

Gerald Ford also loved golf, but spectators had to watch carefully because the President was know for conking people on the head with his wild shots. However, he did have a hole-in-one to his credit. (He was the second president to do that. Eisenhower also had a hole-in-one.

In 1975, two attempts were made to assassinate President Ford. One on September 5 by Lynette (Squeaky) Fromme. She was a follower of Charles Manson. The second was on September 22, by Sara Jane Moore. President Ford was not hurt in either attempt. (For more information see the page on the attempts to assassinate President Ford.)

Shortly after becoming president he gave a full pardon to Richard Nixon (Sept. 8,1974). Some people say that this lead to his defeat to Jimmy Carter in the next presidential election (1976). He is the only president to grant a pardon to another president.

On April 23, 1973, President Ford in a speech at Tulane University announced that the war in Vietnam was finished. Ford stated: "Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by re fighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned."

The 1976 Presidential election was the only election he ever lost. Ford had several problems in running for president ion 1976. The economy was in bad shape. Economic growth had slowed and inflation was taking place. Also within his own party, conservatives were upset and wanted Reagan as their nominee.

In his last State of the Union address on January 12, 1977, President Ford stated: "I can report that the state of the union is good. There is room for improvement, as always, but today we have a more perfect Union than when my stewardship began."

Ford won the John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage Award" for having the courage to pardon Richard Nixon. Many of his critics for pardoning Nixon came to realize later it was the best thing that he could have done to heal our nation and put Watergate behind us.

If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman—my dear wife—as I begin this very difficult job."