[sixties-l] Gerald Ford Gets Award For Pardoning Nixon

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue May 22 2001 - 16:58:27 EDT

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    Gerald Ford Gets Award For Pardoning Nixon


    BOSTON, May 21 --

    Former president Gerald Ford was honored today with the John F. Kennedy
    Profile in Courage Award for pardoning Richard Nixon in 1974, saying he
    took the action to "heal the wounds" of Watergate and Vietnam. On Sept. 8,
    1974, a month after stepping into office following Nixon's resignation,
    Ford gave his predecessor a full pardon. Two years later Ford lost a close
    election to Jimmy Carter, in part because of the pardon.n. "It was
    important to try and heal the wounds of those two tragedies," Ford, 87,
    said at the Kennedy presidential library. "The only way to clear the desk
    in the Oval Office was to get Mr. Nixon's problems off my agenda and get my
    total attention on the problems of the country."." The Profile in Courage
    Award is presented annually by the library to an elected official who has
    withstood strong opposition to do what he or she believed was right. Ford's
    pardon of Nixon "was an extraordinary act of courage that historians
    recognize was truly in the national interest," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy,
    who acknowledged he criticized Ford at the time. Critics said the pardon
    put a premature end to the investigation into Nixon's role in the Watergate
    scandal. Ford denies he made any deals with Nixon to pardon him. Also cited
    for political courage today was civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.,
    who was beaten as he and others challenged segregation at bus stations
    across the South during the Freedom Rides of 1961. He was given a special
    award for lifetime achievement. "It was very dangerous to get on a bus in
    Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961, and to try to enter a so-called 'white
    waiting room.' It was like putting your life on the line, but I had to do
    it. It was the right thing to do," Lewis said. Four years later, Lewis was
    an organizer of a protest that led to the Bloody Sunday attack by state
    troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. The attack helped lead
    to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.5. Kennedy said Lewis understands "America
    will never be America until we free ourselves from the stain of

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