Monday, August 31, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy—and he died.

Perhaps you have had the experience, as I have had, of attending a memorial service where the eulogies made you question whether the speakers accurately described the person who had died.

But by devoting 12 minutes, 30 seconds to hear his son, Ted Kennedy, Jr. talk about the person whose politics polarized, stunned and inflamed his opposition—a man who wore the face of the Democratic Party for the past 46 years—the son’s tribute caused a wall of prejudice to crumble.

Son Teddy had bone cancer at age 12. As he described how his father helped him believe that he had a future after having his leg amputated, this story alone made me see a man, not a monster.

Teddy spoke of the hours he spent with his dad preparing for sailing races.

“Why are we always the last ones out on the water?”

“Because the others are smarter and more talented. But we will win because we will work harder than them.”

Teddy, Jr. said that one of the harder lessons his father taught him was how to like Republicans.

His father said, “Republicans love this country just as much as I do.” Edward Kennedy recognized the incredible shared sacrifice involved in public service, Republican or Democrat.

Ted Kennedy, Jr. said that his father loved history, biographies and was a Civil War buff, visiting sites of battles to better appreciate the soldiers’ sacrifice because he “believed that in order to know what to do in the future, you had to understand the past.”

I believe that, too.

The passing of Edward Kennedy telescopes the drama surrounding the Kennedy family, a saga I have watched unfold for most of my life, and his death may signify the end of a political dynasty.

Every eulogy, true or false, reminds me, though, that being loved covers a multitude of sins.


I am blessed! said...

Interesting commentary about Ted Kennedy's eulogies. I would hope my children remember a better version of me than the rest of the world sees. They say even Al Capone helped little old ladies across the street:)

I was wondering why you have Dan Brown's Angels and Demons on your nightstand.

Carol said...

Although I have not updated my reading list in several months, I attempt to read books that captivate the culture. That includes Harry Potter (all 7) and the Twilight series. Reading Eclipse now.
I tried to finish reading Angels and Demons before the movie came out, but I found it easy to set aside.

Appreciate your comment.

Ender said...

That was eye-opening and did humanize a person I've only seen in a negative light. It serves as a reminder there is a background to everyone's story and sometimes it's more common to our own than we'd care to admit.

Carol said...

Nicely put, Ender.