Mourners solemnly walked out of the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls Thursday following the funeral service for George McGovern.
“[He was] a huge humanitarian and leader for this country,” said Patti Roberts of Sioux Falls. “I was old enough to vote for him. I did. We did sit-ins at my high school around the flag pole and then I went on to marry a Vietnam Veteran.”
More than a 1,000 people filled the Pavilion’s Mary W. Sommervold hall for the service. Key speakers included former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle and Massachusetts Representative Jim McGovern along with McGovern’s family members.
The public service was filled with dignitaries and McGovern’s admirers like Keith Wessel, who traveled from Madison, Wisconsin to take photos.
“I traveled with him in the 1972 campaign as a photographer,” Wessel said.
“The cause of peace and justice for all radiates no matter what your politics are. And for George to have been such a shining symbol for all of us, his whole life was like that,” Roberts said.
McGovern, 90, died Sunday. He continued working until very near to that end. It means he left a legacy, but he also died knowing what his legacy would be.
“His opposition to Vietnam, his desire to feed people, and provide programs so there would be food for people who couldn't obtain it otherwise,” Wessel said.
“His legacy was in his family and his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren,” Roberts said.
McGovern will be buried during a private family service in Washington D.C.'s Rock Creek Cemetery.