NORMAN — When former U.S. Senator and 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern visited Norman in April, he was a bit tardy delivering the biennial Josh Lee Lecture on the OU campus. He had been resting in the OU Forum building and no one woke him in time.
He joked that the audience could safely call him “the late George McGovern.” Mr. McGovern died this past weekend at age 90.
The crowd in the OU Forum would have waited all afternoon to hear the Senator.
He talked about his pilot training and early married life in Muskogee. He hitchhiked home to South Dakota to get married and rode the train back with his new wife, Eleanor. It was so crowded, they stood the entire trip back.
Sen. McGovern’s vow to end the war in Vietnam if elected in 1972 came from his own war experience. He flew 35 bombing missions in a B-24 and lost countless friends in World War II.
“I developed a full appreciation of the sacrifices of war. We never should do that unless we are sure that it is a conflict that justifies the sacrifices of our sons and grandsons,” McGovern said in Norman. “I literally weep for the young men who died in Vietnam.”