INDIANAPOLIS - Military pall bearers carried the casket of the late U.S. Senator Richard Lugar into the rotunda of the Indiana Statehouse so that Hoosiers could pay their last respects to the Shortridge High School graduate and former mayor who became a leading American statesman and advocate for nuclear disarmament around the globe.
Lugar died on April 29 at the age of 87.
Governor Eric Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett welcomed Senator Lugar back home again to Indiana one final time at a ceremony Tuesday at the Statehouse.
“He cared not only about his love of this country and our future more so than any red or blue political colors,” said Holcomb, “and now he will watch down to the heavenly blue sky above forever he will watch down on his beloved state.”
Holcomb was followed to the podium by the man became mayor 40 years after Lugar left the city’s top job to run for the U.S. Senate.
“He fought hatred. He did not court it. He calmed fear. He did not attempt to use it. He extinguished violence. He did not continence it,” said Hogsett. “He was smart enough to know that doing what is right for so long can be costly but he stayed the course always. It is why he now belongs to the ages.
“In his love and through his courage Richard Lugar helped bring more peace to an increasingly dangerous world,” continued the mayor. “He did so in every nuclear, chemical and biological weapon disarmed. He did so to every starving child who now has food. He did so through every public servant who extends a hand across the aisle.”
Congresswoman Susan Brooks, a Republican from Hamilton County, recalled how Senator Lugar endorsed her assignment as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana right after the tragedy of 9/11 in 2001.
“We had to pull together as a country, the executive branch of government, the legislative branch, and pull this country together and get through the trauma after the terrorist attack.”
Brooks said her staff is constantly checking the congresswoman’s status on the Lugar Index, a ranking of bipartisanship cooperation maintained by the Lugar Center.
“I do think of that on those tough votes but the work that we do we always worked out a bipartisan partner because he led the way.”
Vice President Mike Pence said Lugar made the world a more peaceful place. Pence told the several hundred people at Lugar’s funeral Wednesday in Indianapolis that he’ll be remembered as a senator who gained bipartisan respect for his influence in foreign affairs.
Former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn worked with the Republican senator to start a program under which the U.S. paid for the dismantling of thousands of former Soviet nuclear weapons after the Cold War ended. Nunn says the country was fortunate to have Lugar as a public servant and that he made the world a better and safer place.