Posted by: Jennifer | August 26, 2009

“He was a Kennedy”

It’s always surreal when you know that someone is going to die sometime soon and then when it does happen you’re completely shocked by it. I just about fell out of my chair this morning when I read that Ted Kennedy had lost his fight with cancer on Tuesday night.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew triumph and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died late Tuesday night. He was 77.

The death of Mr. Kennedy, who had been battling brain cancer, was announced Wednesday morning in a statement by the Kennedy family, which was already mourning the death of the Senator’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver two weeks earlier.

[…]Mr. Kennedy was the last surviving brother of a generation of Kennedys that dominated American politics in the 1960s and that came to embody glamour, political idealism and untimely death. The Kennedy mystique — some call it the Kennedy myth — has held the imagination of the world for decades and came to rest on the sometimes too-narrow shoulders of the brother known as Teddy.

Mr. Kennedy, who served 46 years as the most well-known Democrat in the Senate, longer than all but two other senators, was the only one of those brothers to die after reaching old age. President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were felled by assassins’ bullets in their 40s. The eldest brother, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., died in 1944 at the age of 29 while on a risky World War II bombing mission.

The man was brilliant and tough and he fought for his constituents over and over again without fail. He consistently fought for change and for progress and for human rights. He stood up for what he felt was right even when people in his own party told him to sit down. He was the Kennedy boy that no one took seriously, and yet his impact was just as broad and tangible as that of his brothers’. What is the world going to do without Ted Kennedy?

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