Max Cleland dies; Former Georgia senator and veteran lost limbs in Vietnam

Georgia

UPDATE 5:42 p.m. 11/09/21 — Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. issued a statement on the passing of former U.S. Senator.

“Today, America lost a selfless public servant, Georgia lost a dedicated leader, and I lost a friend.

“Max Cleland was a son of Georgia who served America through one of our toughest military conflicts. He returned from that war bearing its scars — both visible and invisible. Yet, through his suffering, Max Cleland found purpose in public service.

“Whether it was through the state legislature, leading what is now the Veterans Administration, serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State, or representing us in the U.S. Senate, Max Cleland was a dedicated leader who sought to improve the lives of those he served, especially his fellow veterans.

“I had the good fortune to work with Max as Georgia’s Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission ensuring the memory of our fallen — across the globe — were remembered and honored.

“Though he may have passed in body, the legacy of Senator Cleland’s indomitable spirit will live on in the lives of those he inspired and helped.

“We will miss him dearly but always feel his presence. God bless him and his family.”

Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.

UPDATE 10:45 a.m. 11/09/21 Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, released the following statement in a news release on the passing of Cleland.

“Senator Max Cleland was an American hero who overcame unimaginable adversity and dedicated his life to serving others. His patriotism, commitment to public service, and love for Georgia were unmatched, and his contributions to our state and nation – particularly for our servicemembers, veterans, and their families – will be felt for generations to come. All Georgians join Senator Cleland’s family, friends, and those who loved him in mourning his passing. He will be truly missed.”

Congresswoman Nikema Williams, Chair of the Democratic party of Georgia

ATLANTA (AP) — Max Cleland, who lost three limbs to a Vietnam War hand grenade blast yet went on to serve as a U.S. senator from Georgia, died on Tuesday. He was 79.

Cleland died at his home in Atlanta from congestive heart failure, his personal assistant Linda Dean told The Associated Press.

Cleland, a Democrat, served one term in the U.S. Senate, losing a 2002 re-election bid to Republican Saxby Chambliss. He also served as as administrator of the U.S. Veterans Administration, as Georgia Secretary of State and as a Georgia state senator.

A native of Lithonia, Cleland was a U.S. Army captain in Vietnam when he lost an arm and two legs while picking up a fallen grenade in 1968. For years, Cleland blamed himself for dropping the grenade, but he learned in 1999 that another soldier had dropped it.

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