Dignitaries, Guests Arrive In California For Betty Ford's Memorial Service

Jul 12, 2011

Earlier today, the family of former first lady Betty Ford watched as a casket with her body was carried into St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert. As the Los Angeles Times describes it, the scenery — "a clear blue sky with the rocky Santa Rosa Mountains" — was a dramatic backdrop to the family's final goodbye.

A private service for the family was held earlier, today. And a public memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. ET today.

About 1,000 family members, dignitaries and guests are expected to attend the memorial, among them First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as Nancy Reagan and former President George W. Bush.

NPR's Cokie Roberts will deliver one of the eulogies. Cokie told Mary Louise Kelly on Monday's Morning Edition that the wife of the nation's 38th president Gerald Ford had asked her to talk about how different political parties could work together.

"What she asked me to talk about after she was gone, was how in the olden days when her husband was minority leader of Congress and my father was majority leader of Congress, that Democrats and Republicans were friends, and that they worked together to get things done," Cokie said. "And I must say, she asked me, she gave me this somewhat daunting assignment five years ago, but it seems incredibly appropriate today and particularly this week as we see what's going on in Washington right now being very different from what was true then."

CSpan will carry the memorial service live and we'll update this post as the memorial gets under way.

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