It’s been 10 years since Sen. Paul Wellstone’s ill-fated death right before the 2002 senate elections. The first of three memorial events took place Wednesday night at Macalaster College.

Senator Wellstone died in a plane crash near Eveleth, MN on October 25th along with his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia. He left behind not only his two sons Mark and David, but a deeply saddened state. Wellstone got his start in 1969 as a professor at Carleton College, where his grassroots politics proved inspirational to students. Over the coming decades he became a hero to progressives across the country. He described himself as a representative of the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” and stuck to his conscience with his vote against George W. Bush’s Iraq War.

According to Doug Grow of MinnPost Gov. Mark Dayton gave a standout speech at the memorial service on Wednesday night. His recap of the 1982 DFL state convention, where Wellstone was an unsuccessful, yet relentless, candidate for state auditor, drew both laughs and a more melancholy compassion. There will be two more commemorations to come. They’ll take place on October 25 and in November.