I knew Teddy first

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 at 8:11 am

I knew him before Bobby; I knew him before JFK–for as long as I can remember, Massachusetts Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy has been an American institution. Senator Edward Moore Kennedy achieved a feat that his brothers Robert, JFK, Joseph Jr., and sister Kathleen couldn’t: he lived a relatively long life. And now, the “Lion of the Senate,” the youngest of 9 children, Edward M. Kennedy succumbed to cancer overnight in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. He was 77.

In a 1968 speech at Holy Cross College, Kennedy saw his life and political career as a mission; one in which he believed there to be “no safety in hiding. Like my brothers before me, I pick up a fallen standard. Sustained by the memory of our priceless years together, I shall try to carry forward that special commitment to justice, excellence and courage that distinguished their lives.” Over the past 46 years, we all have been recipients and witnesses to Kennedy’s special commitment. Regardless of your political ideology, one could only admire Kennedy’s passion, dedication, and ability to negotiate with his colleagues across the aisle. John Broder of the NYTIMES summarized that “although he was a leading spokesman for liberal issues and a favorite target of conservative fund-raising appeals, the hallmark of his legislative success was his ability to find Republican allies to get bills passed. Perhaps the last notable example was his work with President George W. Bush to pass No Child Left Behind, the education law pushed by Mr. Bush in 2001. He also co-sponsored immigration legislation with Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. One of his greatest friends and collaborators in the Senate was Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican.”

Senator Kennedy represented a legacy, an American dynasty. He was neither perfect nor claimed to be; yet he had something that we all could relate to compassion, devotion, commitment to a greater cause. Through his mistakes and triumphs, seemingly, we lived them with him. He was iconic, he was near us, he left us an enduring legacy–one that will be hard-pressed to be duplicated.


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