Thursday, August 27, 2009

Senator Ted Kennedy 1932-2009

Senator Edward Kennedy, an unwavering champion of economic security, universal health care, and full employment, has died.

For almost half a century Senator Kennedy was an articulate voice for working people, immigrants and racial minorities. His devotion to the ideals of equality and social solidarity shaped his life and work. Senator Kennedy believed in the values that gave rise to the New Deal and programs like the Social Security, Unemployment Compensation and Fair Labor Standards Acts that reflected those values.

His eulogy for his brother Robert, felled by an assassin's bullet 41 years ago, speaks to his legacy as well. It is excerpted below:

I want to express what we feel to those who mourn with us today in this Cathedral and around the world.

We loved him as a brother, and as a father, and as a son. From his parents, and from his older brothers and sisters -- Joe and Kathleen and Jack -- he received an inspiration which he passed on to all of us. He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side.

Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely....

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not."

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