George McGovern died this morning in hospice surrounded by family.
http://www.npr.org/2012/10/21/163342166/mcgoverns-life-leaves-more-than-a-lost-presidencyMcGovern was born in the tiny farm community of Avon, S.D., the son of a Wesleyan Methodist church pastor. He grew up poor, witnessing the Depression and the Dust Bowl first-hand.
http://www.npr.org/2012/10/21/143117378/mcgoverns-candidacy-inspired-new-wave-of-votersMcGovern was a B-24 bomber pilot in World War II. With two engines out — one of them on fire — and with damaged landing gear, he managed to wrestle the plane safely to the ground in one of the last bombing missions of the war. The feat won him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After the war, McGovern and his wife, Eleanor, moved back to the Midwest. He completed a doctorate in history on the GI Bill and in 1956 landed a seat in Congress as South Dakota's U.S. representative. In 1962, McGovern moved to the Senate. He was an unabashed liberal who won over voters in his conservative state.
But McGovern was not your run-of-the-mill Democrat. He strongly opposed the Vietnam War and advocated amnesty for draft dodgers and a living wage for the poor. During the early 1970s, McGovern became the mainstream voice of the anti-establishment, embraced by many of those protesting in the streets. Among them was Peter Yarrow of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary.
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"There are few and far between that measure up to the dignity, honesty and fantastic commitment of George McGovern that kept this country strong and conscious for all these years," Yarrow said.
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