A week's worth of memories of the three-term U.S. Senator and presidential candidate George McGovern culminated Friday in Sioux Falls.
Fellow politicians and family members paid their final respects for more than two hours at McGovern’s funeral.
Among them was former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle, who credited McGovern for inspiring South Dakota Democrats.
Senator McGovern and Senator Daschle are likely the two most high-profile Democrats to represent the conservative state of South Dakota on a national stage.
"George set the standard for candor, conviction, for honesty," Daschle recalled with McGovern’s flag-draped casket sitting at center stage in the Washington Pavilion.
When McGovern ran for Congress in 1956, he became the first Democrat to represent South Dakota in Washington in more than two decades.
"Growing up in South Dakota, the idea of getting elected as a Democrat seemed as likely as Martians landing in your yard," Daschle said.
Daschle says McGovern's time in the House and then three-terms in the Senate inspired him to pursue his own political career.
"The fact that he won both his House and his Senate seat expanded the hopes and aspirations of hundreds of would-be Democratic candidates just like me," Daschle said.
But Daschle says one of McGovern's biggest accomplishments was his mission to feed hungry children and his partnership with Republican Bob Dole to do just that.
"There are children today in the world living and having better lives because of what George and Bob Dole did together," Daschle said.
And the man who Daschle described as a 'humanitarian, peacemaker, and voice for the voiceless' is a man who will be greatly missed.
"Our glory is that we had a friend named George McGovern," Daschle said.
The largest applause came when Daschle was talking about McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign against Richard Nixon.
"I believe America would be a better place had George become President of the United States," Daschle said.