Thousands Pay Respects to Ford in Capitol Rotunda

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Thousands of people have visited the U.S. Capitol to pay their respects to former President Gerald Ford, who's lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda. The public viewing at the Capitol ends Monday.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

At the U.S. capital, thousands of people have filed pass the casket of former President Gerald Ford, who's been lying in state there since Saturday night.

Yesterday, NPR's Guy Raz met some of the people who came to pay their respects.

GUY RAZ: The casket lies at the center of the Rotunda. Around it are five servicemen: a soldier, a sailor, an airman, a Marine, a coastguardsman. They all stand silent, up right, and still. The mourners walk into the Rotunda in a single file from the north entrance. There are tourists in windbreakers, men and women in uniform, children and formally-dressed Washingtonians, like Sydney Jones(ph). He was the assistant treasury secretary under President Ford.

Mr. SYDNEY JONES: Gerald Ford had no charisma, but he had great ability and you could trust him.

RAZ: Sydney Jones is retired now, but he sometimes lectures about his time in government.

Mr. JONES: I served four presidents, and students ask me who my favorite was? It was Gerald Ford, because I just liked him.

RAZ: Outside the east entrance to the Capitol building, people lined up to get in. The wait wasn't too bad, only about an hour. The weather was nice, but none of that really mattered for Sally Moynihan(ph). She actually rolled out of bed at four in the morning in northern New Jersey, just to drive down to Washington for Gerald Ford.

Why did you come down?

Ms. SALLY MOYNIHAN (Resident, New Jersey): I've - he's been a hero of mine since I was about 12 years old. And I'm now a Liberal Democrat, but I still think he is just one of the greatest.

RAZ: If you're in Washington, you can still pay your respects in person. The Rotunda stays open for the public until about 6 p.m. tonight.

Guy Raz, NPR News, Washington.

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