Speakers reflect on Ford's impact on history

WASHINGTON-- Gerald Ford's impact on history -- in America and abroad -- was one of the themes the speakers at his funeral touched on.

President Bush told the story of an incident during Ford's days as a football player at the University of Michigan. The future president became furious when his school gave in to a demand by Georgia Tech that a black player not be allowed to take the field. Bush says years later, Ford would proudly support civil rights measures.

Bush also recalled the criticism Ford took for signing the Helsinki accords. But the president says history shows that helped bring down the Soviet Union.

Ford's secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, says during his presidency, Ford also helped pave the way for an end to colonial rule -- and apartheid -- in South Africa.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.