1963. Three days before my 12th birthday, President John Kennedy was assassinated, It was the Sept 11 experience of my generation. We forever have the imprint of the president waving from that convertible one moment, and hearing he was dead a few moments later. Less than 5 years later, Bobby Kennedy was killed after leaving a podium after giving a speech. After that, the family I associated withe the mere whisper of the word tragedy, was the Kennedy's.
At 36 years old, this is the legacy that Edward Moore Kennedy was left with. That and a lot of nieces and nephews to be daddy to. Weddings where he would walk his nieces down the aisle instead of their fathers and burying nephews because it was his to do. I remember thinking if I was him, I would work at Kmart and keep my head down. That would not be the end of tragic moments for this family - far from it. And Teddy would not live out his life without more than his fair share of issues but he would leave his mark as no other Kennedy man would be allowed to. More than 40 years served in the Senate as one who not only could get things done but was known for his ability to reach both side of the isle. He has a long fuse, colleagues say and didn't keep score. You might imagine with his family history, revenge, self pity and justification would be his theme. Seems it was just the opposite.
I knew 2 weeks ago when he didn't show up for his sister's funeral that he was not well. The youngest of the Kennedy children and the only boy to live a full life, the torch is now passed to the next generation of Kennedy's who themselves have bore much sorrow. Their legacy also mixed with tragedy, is one that we could all learn from.
They are a strong clan - family first. They have lived out their grief in private and kept their rehab to themselves. Focusing on Special Olympics and the Peace Corps and many, many more ventures, them have done what we all should do. Leave more than we take. They have taught us how to hang our heads high when there seemed no reason too. Tragedy is a part of each of our Stories, some more and some less. The rain falls on the just and unjust. It's not about what happens to you but how you handle it.
I admit when I think of Ted Kennedy, I think of Chappaquiddick. What really happened is between him and God now. His tragic life is now done. It is an end of an era for those of us who have lived these tragedies with this family. The legacy of the Kennedy tragedies ends with us. From now on and for this generation, everything will be seen from the 911 point of reference - the grassy knoll stops here. RIP Ted Kennedy...
Posted by email@example.com at Wednesday, August 26, 2009