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Showering tributes for an Alaska giant in Washington

The longest-serving congressman, Don Young, dies at 88 years old.
Published: Mar. 20, 2022 at 3:41 PM AKDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The late Rep. Don Young returned to Washington DC one last time. His casket was flown to the nation’s capital by Alaska Airlines Sunday, where a crowd greeted Young’s casket.

Showering tributes for an Alaska giant in Washington: Rep. Don Young’s home away from home for nearly 50 years. The longtime representative and Army veteran died Friday at the age of 88. A salute from Young’s wife, Anne, provided a solemn accent to a dreary D.C. day, with roughly a dozen friends looking on.

“He’d be the last guy to ever want this, right?” said long-time friend Mike Henry. “He’d never ask for this himself. He’d yell at the staffer that suggest it happen, but you know, at the same time, he’d appreciate it.

Henry was one of those greeting the Alaska Airlines flight carried Young’s casket. Henry worked for Don Young for 10 years in Washington, but has known him for as long as he can remember. He said Young’s loss is difficult for his home state, leaving a hole impossible to fill.

“He’s irreplaceable, right?” said Henry. “I think I was telling friends, that they don’t make Don Youngs anymore.”

Zack Brown handled communications for Young’s office. He worked for him for three years on Capitol Hill. Brown said the old school politician’s voice was important during difficult and divided times in Washington. Young’s booming, gruff voice, he said, will be sorely missed.

“Congress is a lesser institution, unfortunately, for his loss. I fear it’s going to get harder to legislate and harder to govern without a voice like his sort of steering the ship and directing people,” said Brown.

From the tarmac, the longest serving member in the House of Representatives flag-covered casket made its way to a funeral home in Washington.

Young’s office said they are still working out the schedule of events in D.C. for people to pay their respects to the late congressman.

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