Dakota Datebook

Senate Chaplain

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Some people have a gift for bringing reconciliation. That was certainly so of Dr. Richard Halverson. The native of Pingree, North Dakota often found himself in the middle of tense political situations as the longtime chaplain to the United States Senate. Shortly after Halverson’s death on this date in 1995, a friend recalled one particularly late night in the Senate Chamber when animosity prevailed. As the clock stuck midnight, the North Dakotan was called to open the new session with prayer as was Senate tradition. Recognizing the need for reconciliation, Halverson opened the 12:01am session with these words: “Heavenly Father, Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the kings horses and all the kings men, could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and Lord, help the Senators not repeat that experience here.’’

Dakota Datebook written by Christina Sunwall


U.S. Congress. Senate. Richard C. Halverson U.S. Senate Chaplain, Memorial Tributes in the Congress of the United States. Washington, D.C., 1996. http://ftp.resource.org/gpo.gov/documents/104/sd015.pdf

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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