Pence, McConnell eulogize Sen. Richard Lugar

Vice President Pence and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants GOP rattled by Trump rally Third Kentucky Democrat announces challenge to McConnell MORE (R-Ky.) joined other political figures in honoring the life of the late Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) at his memorial service Wednesday.

Pence and McConnell assembled with other former colleagues and contemporaries of Lugar to praise the former longtime Indiana senator's legacy of foreign policy work and constituent services.

“In my travels around the world as congressman and governor, I was always struck that right after I told people I was from Indiana, they would smile and say, ‘Dick Lugar,’” Pence said during his eulogy. “Sen. Richard Lugar commanded the admiration of our allies and the respect of our enemies like very few Americans.”


Pence, the former governor of Indiana, praised Lugar’s work in both the U.S. Senate and local politics in the Hoosier State, citing his work as mayor of Indianapolis from 1968 to 1976.

“Dick Lugar set in motion changes, like the adoption of Unigov, that literally transformed it into one of the most dynamic capital cities in the country, making it a vibrant center for sports games, conventions, and business,” Pence said, referring to Indianapolis.

Pence also praised Lugar’s work on foreign policy during his tenure as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, including legislation he developed with Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) after the collapse of the Soviet Union to dismantle nuclear warheads.

McConnell praised Lugar’s dedication to his constituents, drawing laughs with an anecdote about Lugar making time to meet with the same woman twice and noticing she had been wearing the same dress on both occasions.

“That was Dick,” McConnell said. “People came first; he met everyone where they were.”

McConnell noted that Lugar would often be asked to preach a sermon on the campaign trail and that the late senator frequently preached on the Biblical story of Lazarus, who, according to the New Testament, Jesus raised from the dead. McConnell paralleled Lugar with stories about Lazarus going on to become a bishop.

“The recipient of this miraculous grace didn’t hole up in some monastery, he dove into public service,” McConnell said, adding, “Dick Lugar knew he’d been blessed” by his family and career, and “in every one of these cases he took the blessings that had been poured out on him and poured them back into others."

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Lugar died April 28 at the age of 87 from complications from chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a rare neurological disorder. Funeral services were held at St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Tributes poured in upon his death last month, including from former President Obama, who awarded Lugar the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013 and worked with him in the Senate to expand Lugar’s 1991 nuclear nonproliferation plan.