Ford-Washington Services

By: AP
By: AP

Mourners are now filing past the flag-covered casket of former President Gerald Ford in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, and many more are lined up outside, waiting for the chance to pay their respects.

This, after a service marking the start of Ford's state funeral.

It ended with Ford's widow, Betty, standing with her hands on the casket, and her head bowed.

She was escorted to and from the casket by family members and by Vice President Cheney.

In his remarks at the service, Cheney praised Ford for his decision to pardon Richard Nixon after Watergate.

Cheney, who was Ford's chief of staff, says it was a decision that cost Ford his own election as president, but that it helped guide the country "through a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe."

House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed that Ford was the man the county needed at the time -- a man of "honesty and candor and courage."

On the way to the Capitol -- where Ford will lie in state until Tuesday morning -- the motorcade carrying his casket paused at the World War Two memorial, in tribute to his own service during that war.

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