President Gerald Ford, in a speech to Congress after assuming the presidency, said he was a "Ford, not a Lincoln." He wanted it to be known that he was just an ordinary man pressed into service in extraordinary times.

The message was part of the nation's healing from a decade of war and an Oval Office scandal that left many Americans questioning the political process. His death this week at age 93 leaves a void in the nation's corps of senior statesmen.

Even though he was never elected to the office, Mr. Ford's service helped restore a sense of integrity to the White House. Richard Nixon's second term ended with his resignation following disclosure of the Watergate burglary and cover-up.

President Ford, the nation's 38th president and a one-time college football player, was the butt of many late-night comedians for his errant golf shots and often clumsy spills. His wife's post-White House acknowledgment of alcohol and drug addiction added a new dimension to the nation's First Ladies.

She became the champion of millions of those with substance abuse problems and the clinic that bears her name became the standard for addiction treatment.

Ronald Reagan will be remembered as the great communicator. Gerald Ford will take his place in history as the great healer.

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