This outpouring of affection and honor was given in recognition of Ford's unique role in American history, and his personal honor and integrity. Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, said that
I don’t think it is a coincidence that American history seems to be an almost providential narrative – a story about finding the right man at the right time to lead the nation. The Presidency is more than agendas and ideas. It is, at its core, a human institution molded and shaped by the character of the men who have served there. In the summer of 1974, America didn’t need a philosopher king or a warrior prince, an aloof aristocrat or a populist firebrand.
John A. Boehner, serving in the House of Representatives, said that
The Watergate crisis was one of the most difficult times in our nation's history, and President Ford's unflinching leadership helped heal a nation and restore the American people’s faith in their government. His decision to pardon President Nixon was a controversial and difficult move that drew a great deal of criticism. But in hindsight, I think most Americans would agree it was the right decision, the honorable decision, and reflected President Ford's good judgment and straightforward approach.
Congressman Bart Stupak, from Ford's home state of Michigan, said that
Gerald Ford did not seek power or fame, but he answered the call of our Nation's highest office when our Nation needed him. He was selected to be Vice President because of his high character, bipartisanship, and integrity. Eight months later, these qualities were evident when President Ford helped heal a divided Nation after the Watergate scandal.
An amazing amount of emotion was displayed at the several state funerals for President Gerald Ford. The affection shown for him reflected that nation's pain during the years of Watergate and Vietnam, and the subsequent healing from those year - a healing facilitated by Gerald R. Ford.