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Viewers Tune In To McGovern Funeral

October 26, 2012, 5:21 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Viewers Tune In To McGovern Funeral
ABERDEEN, SD -

As many gathered in Sioux Falls for George McGovern's funeral Friday, people across the state tuned in at home.

On Northern State University’s campus in Aberdeen you won't find too many students who were even born when McGovern ran for president. But some were still watching as the state honored one of its historic sons.

For senior Maggie Gould and freshman Travis Gerlach, it turned out to be a lesson on South Dakota history.

"I didn't really know a lot about him, just the basics. He ran for President, was the underdog, that kind of thing. But watching this, I'm really learning a lot about him that I didn't know," Gould said.

Gould's sister went to Dakota Wesleyan University where McGovern attended and taught. Gerlach grew up in the Mitchell area so neither were surprised his death drew a lot of local attention. But they didn't realize it would get the national attention it has.

“The Vice President, he went to Sioux Falls and Obama talked about it. And there were a bunch of other large politicians that spoke greatly of him," Gerlach said.

Gould met McGovern once at DWU and Gerlach saw him deliver a speech. As they saw pictures during his funeral of McGovern with very prominent people throughout history, the prominence of the man they met hit them.

"It's great knowing that he brought fame to South Dakota," Gerlach said.

"I think it is cool. And I think it is a kind of big deal, something for people from South Dakota to take pride in, that we have this guy that ran for president," Gould said.

As they reflected on the national attention McGovern has been receiving, the students said the funeral sparked simple personal memories too. When McGovern's love for dogs came up, Gould said the former senator had a dog with him when they met. And that dog came and sat at her feet.

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