Cleland, Max

Cleland, Max, 1942-2021, American politician, b. Atlanta, GA, as Joseph Maxwell Cleland, Stetson Univ. (B.A., 1964), Emory Univ. (M.A., 1968). Cleland enlisted in the Army in 1965 and served in Vietnam from 1967-68, where he lost both legs and his right arm when a grenade accidentally exploded; he was awarded the Bronze and Silver Stars for meritorious service. At age 28, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Georgia State Senate (1971-75), becoming an advocate for people with disabilities. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Cleland as head of the Veterans Administration, a position he held until 1981. A year later, he was elected Georgia's Secretary of State, serving until 1996. He served one term as the Democratic Senator from Georgia (1997-2003), but was defeated in a hard-fought campaign in which the Republican candidate accused him of being soft on terrorism. He then taught and served in various government positions; President Barack Obama appointed him secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission (2009-17), his last official post.

See his memoirs, Strong at the Broken Places (1980), Heart of a Patriot: How I Found the Courage to Survive Vietnam, Walter Reed and Karl Rove (2009, with B. Raines).

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