One Of McGovern's Last Interviews With Student
by Jill Johnson
October 25, 2012 6:06 PM
It was a few weeks ago that Former Sen. George McGovern gave one of his last interviews. It was to a high school student in Madison over the phone.
Madison Senior High School Student, Becky Froehlich says it was a part of a history project for school. She soon found out that Former Senator George McGovern was more than just a politician.
Froehlich said, "He seems like such a principaled guy and just like an all-around good guy and I was thinking it's too good to be true."
Froehlich wanted to hear straight from the source.
Froehlich said, "It was easy to present the facts but I thought I kind of want a more personal, you know, personal experience with him."
She found out that right up until the end, past his 90th birthday, McGovern was making public appearances, giving speeches, and writing; even making time for the media. So on Sept. 24, she scheduled a time to interview him on the phone, in what would be one of his last interviews ever given.
Froehlich said, "To think that I would be able to have the honor of talking to somebody so prestigous was pretty unbelievable."
She asked him about being a politician in South Dakota and is effort to end world hunger. She also asked him 'What advice he would give to her generation." He told her to go out and think about the impact of your life on the scope of the world. He said, 'Whatever happens, try to see an opening for how you can help others, because you'll find the world really is a good place.'
"He made it a clear point that he has hope for all of us, and optimism for what we've going to do in the world and a lot of teenagers don't really hear that," said Froehlich.
She conducted the interview not knowing it would be one of his last, not knowing that soon after he would pass.
"I couldn't believe it because he so articulate, just so bright and alive when, on the phone," said Froehlich.
Froehlich's interview ran as an article in her high school paper, the Madison High School Maroon, on Oct. 19, one day before McGovern passed.
Froehlich says she's unsure if wants to take on journalism as a profession, but enjoys writing and learning about current events.
This is the complete article that ran in the Madison High School Maroon:
George McGovern: A Retrospective Interview
EDIT: Sen. George McGovern passed peacefully on Sun., October 21st, 2012 in Sioux Falls, SD.
At 90 years old, George McGovern has recently been admitted into hospice care. “He’s coming to the end of his life,” says his daughter Ann McGovern, according to CNN. I was deeply honored and fortunate that Mr. McGovern made time for a phone interview with me weeks ago between some of the many public appearances he still made at his age. He has lived a full life. A South Dakota native, George McGovern has been a professor, historian, author, WWII hero, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and famously, the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election. More than this, he also dedicated his life to the cause of ending world hunger, being the first ever UN Global Ambassador for World Hunger and eventual co-laureate of the World Food Prize in 2008. And those are only the facts. I hope that this interview gives a more personal perspective of the wonderful person I saw when speaking to him. He was warm and open and above all, optimistic. This great hope of his makes this turn of events even more poignant to me. May Senator McGovern go in peace, having lived a principle life as a determined leader, open-hearted humanitarian, and man of integrity.
- What does it mean to you to be a South Dakotan politician?
If you’re a Democrat, it means you work twice as hard! (laughs) South Dakota is certainly a traditionally conservative state and I feel I broke the precedent back when I was elected to represent. People didn’t give me much hope for my party. But still now, I have great respect for and confidence in the people of South Dakota.
- I’m 17. Do you believe that we can end world hunger within my lifetime?
Absolutely. With all of our new technology, and dedicated people, we must. If we haven’t ended hunger by that time, I’d be very discouraged. I won’t be there, but if I achieve my goal of living to be 100 – that’s ten years from now – I hope to see it happen by then.
- Robert Kennedy once called you “the only decent man in the Senate”. What has shaped your morals most?
I grew up in a Methodist minister’s parsonage. He drove in us very vigorously to live by a strong moral code. I don’t claim to be a saint, and the people that know me would tell you that. But I will never say in public what I don’t believe or won’t say in private.
- The divide between the ideologies of Republicans and Democrats grows greater than ever this election. How did a Democrat like you work so closely in the hunger program with Bob Dole, a Republican?
Working with Bob Dole, the two of us simply both decided to dedicate our time to trying to help the cause of hunger. Our respective parties didn’t change that. We both care. We work hand in glove, and I still consider him one of my most important friends.
- You’ve received dozens of honors and awards over the years. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Well, I received the honor from President Bill Clinton – they call it the “Medal of Freedom” – and that is my greatest pride as far as awards. But outside that, my greatest achievement is working towards ending hunger. Awhile ago a respected historian out of Oxford University wrote that I have helped more hungry people than any other individual in history. And that is the best honor I can think of.
- What advice would you give to my generation, the youth of America?
First, get as much education as you reasonably can. Go out and think about the impact of your life on the scope of the world. And don’t just be someone who knocks everything and is critical. Whatever happens, try to see an opening for how you can help others, because you’ll find the world really is a good place.