Political Figures Speak At McGovern's Funeral
by Jill Johnson
October 26, 2012 6:07 PM
Friday was the funeral service for Former Sen. George McGovern. At one p.m., hundreds packed into the Mary Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion in downtown Sioux Falls.
They watched as McGovern's casket was carried in with the South Dakota Symphony's String Quartet performing in the background.
After a word of grace and prayer, there was a slideshow featuring pictures of McGovern throughout his life as a World War II pilot, a congressman, a senator, presidential candidate humanitarian and family man.
Then, those who spoke at the funeral were some of those closest to him. George McGovern's campaign manager in 1972 Gary Hart spoke at the service. Matt McGovern, McGovern's grandson, even read a passage. But among the most powerful, were words spoken from Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts. Rep. McGovern met Sen. George McGovern as an intern at the late Senators senate office. He spoke of his friend's love for his country and his run at the white house in 1972.
Rep. McGovern said, "Our country missed an incredible opportunity in 1972."
But McGovern told the crowd, the defeat is not what defines him and not what we should remember when we think of George McGovern.
Rep. McGovern said, "George McGovern's presidential loss is not his legacy. The fact that people have food to eat is his legacy."
Later Sen. Tom Daschle shared McGovern's hardships during World War II. He shared funny stories. He also reminisced about McGovern. as his mentor and friend.
Sen. Daschle said, "I can't begin to tell you the lessons I learned by watching this man."
Daschle spoke about McGovern's mission to do the impossible and the possibilities that would have followed if he had won.
Daschle said, "I believe America would have been a better place if George McGovern would have been president of the United States."
Now that their friend has passed, they both say George McGovern is now in a better place.
Rep. McGovern said, "Deep down I know he's in a better place with Eleanor, Terry and Steve. Who knows he might even be president."
The funeral wasn't just a time for family and friends to say goodbye to George McGovern. It truly wasa celebration of George McGovern's life, a celebration that lasted a little over two hours.