Born Leslie Lynch King Jr., Gerald Ford was born on this day, July 14th, in 1913. When Leslie was three years old, his father left him and the rest of his family. It wasn’t until her mother remarried to a man named Gerald Ford that his name would change to the one everyone knew him by: Gerald Ford. Her second husband would become his adopted father.
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Ford grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and believe it or not, was actually quite the football nerd. He would later attend Michigan University, where he would play for the school’s football team. After his senior year at the school, he was chosen as the team’s most valuable player. After his senior year, he began to pursue a law degree at Yale University, but didn’t want to completely give up football yet.
While getting his law degree, Gerald Ford was an assistant coach for the football team at Yale University. In 1941, Ford graduated from college and started to earn some extra cash through modeling. A year later, Ford was featured on the cover of the Cosmopolitan magazine representing the Navy in his uniform. However, he wasn’t officially credited with the cover. If football, law degree and modeling wasn’t enough, Ford served in World War II from 1942 until 1945, which is the year the war ended.
When the war came to an end, Ford continued to model and also started a law practice and Republican politics. During one of his modeling jobs, Gerald Ford met a young Elizabeth Anne Bloomer who caught his eye. She would later become his wife; who Ford took to a Michigan State Rose Bowl Playoff game for their honeymoon.
In the same year he got married, Ford got elected to Congress. His most notable service in Congress was when he served on the Warren Commission, which investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
In 1973, Ford was selected to be President Richard Nixon’s Vice President. The man who was in the position before him was Spiro Agnew. However, he resigned due to tax evasion. Not even a year later, Richard Nixon ended up resigning as well, for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. On August 9, 1974, Gerald Ford took the oath of office and became the President of the United States.
As President, Gerald Ford dodged a few instances where people tried to assassinate him. The first came on September 5, 1975 when a Sacramento woman tried to shoot Ford. Luckily, the gun misfired and Ford was untouched. The second came a couple weeks later on September 22, when another woman tried to kill ford in San Francisco. Both women would later be caught and were in prison for life.
Overall, Ford is most remembered for helping our country get through and recover from two major events in our history: The Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. His first action as President was pardoning Richard Nixon, hoping to send the message of “Let’s get past this.”