COLUMNS

Sweet survivors set for McCarthy service

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • January 11, 2006

by Karen Feld

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“You remember when you felt each person mattered”That we all had to care, or all was lost

“But now you see believers turned to cynics

“And you wonder, ‘Was the struggle worth the cost?’ ”

– From Peter Yarrow’s “Sweet Survivor” inspired by Gene McCarthy

Hundreds of veterans of the 1968 Democratic presidential campaign plan to attend a memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of their hero, former Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who ran unsuccessfully for president five times and died Dec. 10 at age 89. The service is open to all, regardless of political affiliation. Among those attending will be journalist and political insider Bill Press and his wife, Carol, who met in 1968 while both were McCarthy volunteers. More recently, they hosted McCarthy’s 87th birthday celebration at their D.C. home, where the former senator recited many of his own poems.

Yarrow remembers his poet-hero McCarthy

Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, who wrote the anthem for the 1968 campaign, will perform at the National Cathedral service. Yarrow, who was married to McCarthy’s niece, Mary Beth McCarthy, will sing with their daughter, Bethany. “One of the songs will be ‘Sweet Survivor,’ which was partly inspired by Gene’s determination and the 1968 campaign,” Yarrow wrote in an e-mail.

“How sadly, we have become a country that personifies in far too many ways the very essence of the tide that Gene was trying to stem,” Yarrow said. “Hard to imagine, but had Gene won, we might have been gifted a legacy in which no Iraq war would have ever been contemplated, let alone seen the light of day.”

McCarthy generation marches on

Yarrow, in the 1960s, stood with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in both Selma, Ala., and Washington, and in 1969, he co-organized the anti-Vietnam march on Washington. Coincidentally, the service is scheduled for the Martin Luther King Day weekend. Like McCarthy, Yarrow has lent his clout and spirit to fighting against many injustices: apartheid, homelessness, gun violence, hunger and exploitation of farm workers. But on Saturday morning, he promises hugs to all.

Good luck, Shannon!

The Miss District of Columbia Scholarship Organization hosted a send-off party for Miss D.C. on Thursday evening at the Croatian Embassy. Shannon Schambeau, 24, will be representing the District of Columbia at the Miss America pageant at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Jan. 21. Spotted among the well-wishers: Bill Hanbury, president of the Washington, DC Convention and Tourism Corporation, who said D.C. is in the running to host the Miss America pageant in 2007 or 2008; Barbara Franklin, former secretary of commerce; former ambassador to the Vatican Thomas Melady; and Bruce Pasternack, the president and CEO of the Special Olympics, where Shannon currently works.

Ready for Year of the Dog?

The Chinese community was joined by many from around D.C. on Saturday when Mayor Anthony Williams cut the ribbon on the new Chinatown Community Cultural Center. Before the mayor arrived, his detail had some concern about Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong‘s car. They wanted the car moved up along the street to leave room for Mayor Williams’ detail. As a courtesy, motorcades of foreign ambassadors have priority.

The mayor and ambassador were joined by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle; Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Duane Wang, the “mayor” of Chinatown; restaurateurs Tony Cheng and Larry La; and political consultant Jackson Cox III. Of course, the usual members of the D.C. Council who are running for mayor were on hand – Vincent Orange, Linda Cropp and Adrian Fenty (who arrived late) – as was Kwame Brown.

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