- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2002

From combined dispatches
MINNEAPOLIS About 20,000 people gathered to bid the late Sen. Paul Wellstone farewell yesterday in a ceremony that began as a poignant farewell, but turned into a fiery Democratic rally for election victory.
The first eulogies were tender remembrances. But when it was time to recall Mr. Wellstone, who was locked in a tough re-election fight when he died, his friend and campaign treasurer Rick Kahn took a different tone.
"A week from today, Paul Wellstone's name will not be on the ballot," Mr. Kahn said. "But there will be a choice just the same … either keep his legacy alive, or bring it forever to an end!"
As the crowd erupted in a loud "No," Mr. Kahn continued:
"If Paul Wellstone's legacy in the Senate comes to an end just days after this unspeakable tragedy, our spirits will be crushed, and we will drown in a river of tears. We are begging you, do not let this happen."
"We are going to win this election for Paul Wellstone," Mr. Kahn said. "We can redeem the promise of his life if you win this election for Paul Wellstone."
David Wellstone, the senator's oldest son, talked of next week's election and "looking forward to digging in" in his father's name.
Outside the ceremony at a University of Minnesota sports arena, the famed green bus that carried the Minnesota Democrat to victory on his populist campaigns served as a shrine, thick with flowers left by mourners.
An overflow crowd of thousands gathered nearby to watch on giant video screens, and multitudes more watched and listened on statewide television and radio to the ceremony for Mr. Wellstone, 58; his wife, Sheila, 58; his daughter, Marcia Wellstone Markuson, 33; and campaign staffers Mary McEvoy, 49; Tom Lapic, 49; and Will McLaughlin, 23.
All six were killed in a plane crash Friday in northern Minnesota. The plane's two pilots, Richard Conry, 55, and Michael Guess, 30, also died.
Even early on, there were signs that the memorial would turn into a political revival meeting. Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York drew a huge cheer, and the crowd erupted when Walter F. Mondale, expected to replace Mr. Wellstone on the ballot, walked in with his wife, Joan. Mr. Mondale smiled broadly, exchanging handshakes and hugs with Mr. Clinton and others.
In contrast, Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi were booed. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson represented the administration.
The crowd watched a photo and video collage of Mr. Wellstone and the other victims, set to Bob Dylan's "Forever Young."
David McLaughlin, brother of Will McLaughlin, recalled several of his brother's adventures as Mr. Wellstone's personal assistant and driver.
"Will and Paul really did work well together," Mr. McLaughlin said. "I really do believe that's why they became such good friends. Both wanted to do things their way and they wouldn't do what people told them."
But he also recalled one instance, when the two men were stuck in traffic and they debated which way to go: "I don't know what words were said, but Will learned very quickly you don't tell a senator to just chill out."
Elizabeth Jacobson of St. Paul cried as she waited for the service.
"I think he might have been the greatest politician who ever came from here," she said. "I feel a lot of comfort being here."
Family and close friends attended a private funeral for the Wellstones at a Minneapolis synagogue Monday. Their bodies were buried in Lakewood Cemetery, where former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey also is buried.

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