By Katherine Ladner
On Sunday, a distinct American historical Figure passed away.
Yesterday, Senator George McGovern died in a Souix Falls Hospice at 5:15. Most people know him for his 1972 run for President against Richard Nixon as the Democratic nominee, and despite losing the election, Senator McGovern still found a way to make significant contributions to society.
Aside from representing South Dakota in the U.S. House and later U.S. Senate, he focused efforts on feeding the hunger at home and abroad. McGovern became ambassador to the United Nations food and agriculture agency and cofounded with former Senator Bob Dole the Food for Education program for children in poverty stricken countries. Additionally, he proceeded as a liberal voice in American politics by helping with Democratic presidential runs. As a result, Dakota Wesleyan University opened a George McGovern Presidential Library in his honor.
This man has a special place in my heart not only for his efforts to make the world a better place but because he was a friend of the family. My great aunt and great uncle who are from Mitchell South Dakota, McGovern’s home, have been friends with him since the 1950’s. My great uncle was the mayor of Mitchell South Dakota for four terms and he helped McGovern run for the U.S Senate in 1957. Though, my uncle passed away in the early 2000’s my aunt remained in touch with him. When I stayed with her for a week the summer after I graduated, she took me to go meet McGovern in his office at the DWU campus. The senator left a strong impression on me.
I had a great dialogue with Senator McGovern. When I extended my hand to him, he insisted that I give him a hug instead. He asked me a some questions about myself, and I told him that I was from Austin and that I was going to attend SMU. He informed me that he actually spoke at SMU before and that it was a phenomenal university, which made me even more proud that I was going to be going there. Additionally, McGovern told me that a professor at SMU was working on a book about him and that I should try and meet him one day. Ironically, two weeks into this semester, I found out that the professor of the history class I am in is the one writing the book about McGovern.
Whether or not one politically aligns with this man or not, no one can deny Senator McGovern had a big heart and he will always be remembered.