Continuing along a politically oriented stream ... the 1976 Republican National Convention that nominated incumbent Gerald Ford was hosted by Kansas City
. President Ford, Ronald Reagan and all the other who's who in Republican politics were in Kansas City's Kemper Arena. Being familiar with that arena, it's hard to even imagine the scene. Bob Dole, U.S. Senator from Kansas, was the vice president nomination.
In 1976, I was, well, let's just say I was young. Maybe a single-digit age, maybe already in double digits. I'll never tell. Anyway, I watched that convention. I remember Mom mentioning Reagan was a former actor and was divorced. There was some suspense in that folks weren't certain if Ford or Reagan would win the nomination. It was close.
We had a mock election in school. I recall most kids talking about the "car/banana" candidates. In the end, Jimmy Carter of Georgia was elected.
Dwight Eisenhower died in 1969. Although I already was on this earth (I am old, aren't I?), I don't remember his funeral.
Like Ford, Harry S. Truman passed away on the day after Christmas. Truman died in 1972. He is buried here in nearby Independence, Missouri. For the most part, he was loved by many in this part of the woods. I watched part of his funeral on television. I watched it with Mom and Dad. What I most remember was seeing Lyndon Johnson. I thought he was impressive.
LBJ passed away a month later in January 1973. After his death, the U.S. had no other living former presidents. We talked about that in school.
Our next presidential funeral was in 1994 when Richard Nixon died. Including Bill Clinton, five U.S. Presidents attended Nixon's funeral. There were again five U.S. Presidents, including George W., that attended Reagan's funeral in 2004.
A 24-year-old co-worker told me he didn't get why we have all the fuss. He said, "they were just one guy elected a long time ago. Why make a big deal out of them dying." I think the pomp and circumstance is mostly deserved. This post is dedicated to their memory.