It has taken all day for me to even begin to process the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy. I was lucky to be able to see “the Lion” in-person on a number of occasions and those memories and images have been buzzing through my mind all day.
I have a vivid memory of watching Teddy during the 2002 “Fighting for Families” bus tour in support of gubernatorial candidate Shannon O’Brien and Sen. John Kerry as he gave an impromptu and rousing speech to striking labor workers somewhere in western Massachusetts. I recall that his speech began in a low whisper and the crowd quieted to hear his words. As he continued to talk about the plight of the union members and the need for fair working conditions, it was if someone suddenly hit a switch and his voice became loud, animated and it rang throughout the crowd. On that occasion and a number of future encounters, I remember closing my eyes while Teddy spoke so I could just listen to his voice and that all-too-familiar Kennedy accent. The voice alone carried with it such a rich and important piece of the American experience.
Sadly, Teddy was forced to give many eulogies throughout his life and some remain among his most famous speeches. I have spent time today searching through them and I thought there would be no better way to eulogize him then to simply let the words that he offered when people needed to be comforted and given strength speak for themselves.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Rose Kennedy (Ted’s mother)
Robert F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy, Jr.
“We dared to think, in that other Irish phrase, that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair, with his beloved Carolyn by his side. But like his father, he had every gift but length of years. We who have loved him from the day he was born, and watched the remarkable man he became, now bid him farewell.”