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Bidding a final farewell to former Senator George McGovern

Nati Harnik / AP

Will Mead holds a tri-folded flag as he watches with family members the casket of his great grandfather, former Democratic U.S. Senator and three-time presidential candidate George McGovern, being carried into the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls, S.D., for the funeral service, on Oct. 26. McGovern died Sunday in his native South Dakota at age 90.

Reuters -- SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota - Mourners gathered on Friday for the funeral of former U.S. Senator George McGovern, a soft-spoken South Dakota native and passionate opponent of the Vietnam war who shaped the Democratic Party even in a landslide defeat in the 1972 presidential race.

Close friends, family and those he mentored directly and indirectly called McGovern a man of principle and decency during a prayer service on Thursday night.

"He is the father of the modern Democratic Party," Vice President Joe Biden said, calling McGovern a "good and decent man" who opened the party up to women, minorities and young people, and inspired a generation of leaders.

McGovern, who was born and raised in South Dakota, died in Sioux Falls on Sunday at a hospice center at age 90.

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Anthony Korody / Getty Images

The former Democratic Sen. George McGovern, who lost the 1972 presidential election to Richard Nixon and gained fame throughout his career for his devotion to fighting hunger and opposing war.

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