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Gaylord Nelson Remembered At State Capitol

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

There was a little music, a few tears, and a lot of laughs as friends, family, politicians and well wishers came together to remember Gaylord Nelson.

"What a great life we are celebrating here today," says Congressman Dave Obey (D).

Gaylord Nelson served as Governor of Wisconsin, and then as U.S. Senator. But for many he is most well known for his environmental deeds, including founding Earth Day, and protecting wilderness areas around the state and nation.

"In the vast acres of land now protected throughout our state Gaylord Nelson lives on," says Gov. Jim Doyle.

"Gaylord did more to protect America's natural beauty and wildlife, to halt the corruption of our air and water and earth than any one single person in American history," says Former Vice President Walter Mondale.

William Meadows, President of the Wilderness Society, quoted a Gaylord Nelson speech from 2000, "Forging and maintaining a sustainable society is the challenge for this and all generations to come."

Beyond his environmental legacy Gaylord Nelson the politician will be remembered for his ability to work with people from the other side of the aisle; a quality his contemporaries say is missing from today's political climate.

"Gaylord helped promote civility between Democrats and Republicans," says Cong. Tom Petri (R).

"Gaylord Nelson's friendship transcends political parties," says Meadows.

Congressman Tom Petri read a statement from Mel Laird, a longtime Republican friend of Nelson's. "As Mel Laird says, and I concur, 'we could all use a lot more of Gaylord Nelson's civility in politics these days.'"

Congressman Obey wrapped up the service with an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace.

Nelson will be buried in his hometown of Clear Lake, Wisconsin.


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