GERALD FORD, 39TH PRESIDENT - Gerald was sworn in as President on August 9, 1974 in a ceremony at the White House after the resignation of Richard Nixon. He had previously been appointed Vice President after the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew. As such, Ford was the only person to assume the office of President who had not been elected to that post or to the position of Vice President. He also was the first Vice President to assume the office of President under the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which specifies that upon the resignation of a President, the Vice President shall become President. One of Ford's first actions as President was to pardon former President Richard Nixon. He did this to end what he described as our long national nightmare dealing with the Watergate scandal and to allow him, s President, to focus on matters other than Watergate. Today, most people understand that Ford was acting in the national interests, but at the time there was concern about a potential behind the scenes pre-arranged deal for him to pardon Nixon in return for his becoming President. As such, this one action probably cost Ford the election when he later ran against Jimmy Carter for a second term as President. Ford was also responsible for ordering the withdrawal of all American troops from Vietnam, thus ending our involvement in the Vietnam War. Even though never elected to the office, Ford stands out as one of our most honorable, decent and respected Presidents.