Former Sen. George McGovern died early Sunday morning in his hometown of Sioux Falls, S.D. He was 90 years old and had been in failing health. McGovern served two terms in the House and three in the Senate, but was best known as the Democratic Party's ill-fated nominee against President Richard Nixon in the election of 1972.
McGovern 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.
That experience would have a profound effect on him and on his long career in Congress, but McGovern's very first call to service came as it did for so many of his generation — with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Many years later he spoke on C-Span about what it was like to do that at age 19.
"I signed up for the Air Force. I wanted to be a pilot. I even knew what kind I wanted to be. I wanted to be a bomber," he said.
Go here to read more of this remembrance from NPR.