Katie Couric's Notebook: terHorst

Last Updated Apr 2, 2010 10:25 PM EDT

Some people are remembered for what they did in life.

Jerald terHorst, who died this week at 87, will be remembered for what he wouldn't do.  Ter Horst,    the son of Dutch immigrants, didn't learn to speak English until he was five years old.

But he would one day speak for the President of the United States.  After serving in the Marines, terHorst began a newspaper career.  Then, on August Ninth, 1974, he was tapped to be press secretary by a fellow Michigander who'd just become President in the midst of the Watergate scandal - Gerald Ford.

Thirty days later, Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon .. and with that, terHorst resigned.

He said he could not defend giving Nixon a full pardon when the same consideration was not given to men who -- as a matter of conscience -- refused to serve in Vietnam.

To their dying days, both Gerald Ford and Jerald terHorst insisted they had done the right thing, but history may be the ultimate judge.

That's a page from my Notebook.

 I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.