Leaders, Special Olympians and Family Gather with the Public to Honor Robert Sargent Shriver Jr.
Friday's public wake drew warm wards and poignant speeches from some of Washington's greatest champions of social programs
Hundreds gathered with the public Friday at Holy Trinity Church to celebrate the life of Robert Sargent Shriver Jr.
Known for launching the Peace Corps and for leading a life dedicated to serving others, speakers at the ceremony shared stories that highlighted the more personal side of the man whose humor, charisma, energy and leadership inspired so many.
Former Senator and Democratic residential nominee George McGovern, who chose Sargent Shriver as his vice presidential running mate in 1972, recalled how after losing in a landslide to Richard Nixon, Sarge cheered him up by saying, “you know, we lost 49 states, but we never lost our souls.”
Others commented on the passage of yet another leader from the old guard of American politics.
“Sarge was a giant in the generation we call greats,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyner, D-Md., “The measure of his success is in the numbers, who inspired by him, reached out to others…he made America better and made each of us better as well.
Sargent Shriver’s former speechwriter, Colman McCarthy laughingly said that, “being Sarge’s speechwriter was easy—I didn’t supply him the quotes, he supplied me with them.” In a more serious tone, McCarthy went on to say that Serge was an incredible thinker and one of the few politicians who actually read the scholars he quoted.
Throughout the ceremony the audience was moved alternately to laughter and tears, but throughout there was a sense of comradery in celebration of a man who moved so many.
Closing the ceremony, Bill Moyer struck a somber but reflective tone on the larger significance of Sargent Shriver’s life.
“He believed a single individual could be as important as any institution,” said Bill Moyer in his closing remarks for Friday’s ceremony. “Sarge brought out the best in each of us.”
A funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of Mercy in Potomac, where among other leaders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to attend.