Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The last of the brothers is gone

Godspeed, Teddy.

"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men." -- JFK

1 comment:

David A. W. said...

I Knew Ted - A Personal Tribute

A patrician of an old money family, he was, in his younger years, a rake and a playboy.

Over the years he turned into a champion for the little guy, and, as even his political opponents would attest, a Statesman of the first order.

The playboy Ted is not the Ted I grew up with. I knew about it well though, having as a father a man who detested Ted's politics.

The Statesman Ted is the only political Ted I knew personally. The third longest serving senator in the history of the US. The man who was on the forefront of every major social issue of the last 40 years; civil rights for all without exceptions and health care spring to my mind right now. He also, despite the fact that I hate the idea personally, brought home the pork to my home, Massachusetts.

His legacy is gigantic, but it is not the playboy or political Ted I will remember.

I was born, grew up, and now live on Cape Cod. Ted's true home. The place where he went to recharge his batteries after spending his energy in battles on Capitol Hill.

In my late teens I knew, and for one summer, dated one of his nieces. I met him then, not the politician, but as my date's "Uncle Ted".

I would show up to pick up her up and sometimes he was there. Other times he wasn't. When he was there he was always gracious. While I waited we would probe each other, him trying to find out what the hell I wanted with his neice, me trying to avoid that exact same subject.

We finally found a common ground for conversation. Sailing.

Him about his big sailboats, I about my tiny racing 420. He invited me to go sailing with him one day. I thought it would be a blast but Kym just wanted to get out of the house and away.

So it never happened.

One of my greatest regrets is missing that opportunity.

God speed Ted. Fair winds and following seas!

From The Bacchae of Euripides

Happy is he, on the weary sea who has fled the tempest and won the haven.
Happy who so hath risen, free above his striving.
For strangely graven is the orb of life,
That one and another in gold and power may outpass his brother.
And men in their millions float and flow
And seethe with a million hopes as leaven;
And they win their will, or they miss their will,
And their hopes are dead or are pined for still;
But who'er can know, as the long days go
That to live is happy has found his heaven.
What else is wisdom?
What of man's endeavor
Or God's high grace, so lovely and so great?
To stand from fear set free, to breathe and wait;
To hold a hand uplifted over hate?

"During my service in the Senate, I have often been called a Liberal, and it usually was not meant as a compliment. But I remember what my brother {President John F. Kennedy} said about liberalism shortly before he was elected president. He said: 'If by a Liberal, they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind. Someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions. Someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties. Someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and the suspicion that grips us. If that is what they mean by a Liberal, then I am proud to say I am a Liberal'."
— Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

"Along the way, I have learned lessons in the school of life, that we should take issues seriously, but never take ourselves too seriously, that political differences may make us opponents, but should never make us enemies, that battles rage and then quiet. Above all, I have seen throughout my life how we as a people can rise to a challenge, embrace change and renew our destiny."
— Sen. Edward M. Kennedy