Born in Wallace, South Dakota, Hubert Horatio Humphrey (1911-1978) called himself a "born optimist" and once said, "Never give up on anybody."
In a career marked with triumphs and failures, Humphrey served in the Senate from 1949 to 1965 before becoming Vice President to Lyndon Johnson.
An energetic and upbeat candidate for President in 1968, he told Time magazine with humor, "I keep vigorous by living clean and thinking dirty." He lost to Nixon by a slim margin, yet throughout his life maintained an optimistic, "can-do" spirit.
"It is not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left," he explained.
In the Senate, he was a democratic liberal who believed in government activism and led the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A colorful speaker who was called "The Happy Warrior" by his peers, Humphrey pushed for legislation in support of urban renewal, the Peace Corps, health benefits, and better education.
"I have enjoyed my life, its disappointments outweighed by its pleasures. I have loved my country in a way that some people consider sentimental and out of style. I still do and I remain an optimist, with joy, without apology, about this country and the American experience in democracy," he said.
Our greatest songs are still unsung.