This past Sunday, we lost a great politician extraordinaire, who will be sadly missed because of his ardent political passions, his idealism, and his fervent love for his country. Additionally, he is remembered as a historian, university professor, scholar of political science, and as a consummate liberal politician.
Senator McGovern was born in 1922 in South Dakota (the son of a Methodist minister) and was educated at Dakota Wesleyan University, B.A., 1945 (interrupting his college education to serve in the U.S. military after Pearl Harbor was bombed); Northwestern University, M.A., 1949; and Northwestern University, Ph.D., 1953. He served the US Army in World War II as a 1st Lieutenant, flying a B-24 in 35 combat missions over Europe and was presented with the Distinguished Flying Cross. McGovern authored a number of articles and books, including The Third Freedom, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the World Food Prize, and the Air Medal.
McGovern is best remembered as the special assistant to the President as director of the Food for Peace Program (1961), his election to the US Senate for three terms (1962 – 1978), and serving on Senate committees concerning agriculture, nutrition, forestry, foreign relations, and the Joint Economic Committee. In 1972, Senator McGovern was selected as the Democratic Party’s nominee for the US presidential campaign on the platform to end the unpopular war in Vietnam. Following his defeat in that election, McGovern subsequently served as the United Nations Global Ambassador to obliterating world hunger.
Senator McGovern was hospitalized for various reasons since a fall last December, and he passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, October 20th, 2012, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the age of 90. Tributes are flooding in for this beloved senior statesman via Twitter (shown below), and he is remembered by a number of current politicians and historians as the person who was ultimately responsible for their own passion for political service.
“Above all,being a Democrat means having compassion for others. It means standing up for ppl who have been kept down” – George McGovern #rip
RIP George McGovern, the “most decent man in the Senate.”
We note the death of George McGovern, a SD US Senator, 1972 Democratic presidential standard bearer. We are honored to preserve his papers.
A hero of war, George McGovern became a champion for peace. Michelle and I share our thoughts and prayers with his family. -bo