Remembering Richard Lugar

Elegy for an American Giant

Lugar at the National Defense University in Washington, December 2012 Larry Downing / REUTERS

The giants of the twentieth century are falling in rapid succession, and the United States recently lost another. Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, who died last month, was the quintessential public servant—principled, effective, selfless. He was unafraid to do the right thing for his country, even when it was not popular with his party. His skillful legislating, grounded in a willingness to compromise, resulted in an extraordinary record of accomplishments, ranging from preserving the federal school lunch program to fighting HIV/AIDS to strengthening nuclear security. The United States and the world are safer and better off because of Lugar’s work.

Less than three weeks before he died, I had the privilege of publicly honoring Lugar. Asked to give the keynote address at the Richard G. Lugar Symposium in Public Policy at his beloved Denison University in mid-April, I spent some cherished time with Lugar, laughing

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