Former United States Senator George McGovern's funeral filled the Mary W. Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion on Friday afternoon.
After a week of memories, the program served as a final salute to South Dakota's original Democrat and America's modern liberal.
“Our state and our world are blessed because of the footprints left behind,” Monsignor James Doyle with the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese said.
McGovern had accomplished more than anyone is expected to in a lifetime. He was a war hero, a family man, Presidential candidate, hunger advocate, author and noble politician.
“His constituents were the people for whom he fought,” said former United States Senator Tom Daschle. “They were South Dakota families barely holding on to their family farms. They were common, working people, in South Dakota and all over the country.”
More than a 1,000 people gathered to give him one last goodbye. Political powerhouses from both sides of the aisle to every day voters paid their respects side-by-side each other.
“When a hungry child needed a voice, he was there. When women and young people sought to break down the closed political system, he was there,” said one-time McGovern campaign organizer and former Colorado Senator Gary Hart.
“The cause of peace and justice for all radiates no matter what your politics are,” Sioux Falls Resident Patti Roberts said following the funeral service.
The father of South Dakota's Democratic Party even spawned a movement: McGovernism.
Now someone else must champion his causes, advocating policies that feed the hungry, clothe the poor and stand up for those who can't defend themselves just as McGovern did until the very end of his life.
“Goodbye, George,” Doyle said. “Not forever, just for now, until we meet again in a better world.”