Love him or hate him politically, the man was a war hero. As I noted on my own:
I disagreed with him vehemently on pretty much all things political, but despite our disagreement, I genuinely believe that he honestly had the very best of intentions in his heart at all times, misguided as I think they were. The man was a war hero, and for that alone he deserves everyone's respect. If you have not read Stephen Ambrose's The Wild Blue, I would strongly encourage you to pick up a copy at your local library or bookstore. It's not exactly George McGovern's story, but instead the story of his unit, told mostly from McGovern's perspective. It gives a very good picture of what it was like for those other guys who were fighting WWII: the ones up in the air, defenseless over the target, hoping like hell that the next flak burst wasn't somewhere inside the fuselage. They were either envied or pitied by the guys down in the foxholes, depending upon their perspective, and the reverse was true for the fly-boys. McGovern was committed to 20 combat runs to complete his military career, and the Army Air Force (as it was at that time) stretched that to 35 missions. Given that something like 8% of all bomber pilots survived 20 combat flights, making it to 35 was very rare indeed. A lot of luck, a not-insignificant amount of skill, and absolute nerves of steel got this man through WWII.
Farewell, warrior. Rest in peace; you've earned it.
The man has earned my respect, even if we disagree.