Thursday, August 27, 2009


It is written that a man dies only once and then it's judgment. In the annals of Ted Kennedy’s life are stories of courage, defeat, triumph, despondence, grief, exhilaration, faith and endurance. And when he died two days ago, no word could be enough to describe his contribution to life. Yes, life. Many of his colleagues in the Senate, even those who held a different political conviction, shared of his grief by writing gracious statements about this fiery lion of a liberal leaning. Some expressed the pain of his brother’s death, others mentioned his memorable public service, others yet talked about his family life, and a few about Chappaquiddick. Like the man in life, many were able to compartmentalize their views between his private and his public life. So, you could have read an array of opinions, but what is very important in all these semi-eulogies, is the respect and honor that every persons gave to this man. American Vice President Joseph Biden adduced this respect and honor for Teddy, to the type of life he led: Ted never made anyone feel small; he made everyone he met, either in politics or in his personal life, bigger. This is the type of man Edward Moore Kennedy was. Ted was a joiner of people, who had been in pain since an accident in 1961; but never talked about himself. He never made anything personal, nor held grudges, but cared so much about everyone. He was truly a fine man.

Today is a celebration of the 77 years he spent with us before he went home two days ago. He arrives for public viewing at the JFK Presidential library in Boston today under the watchful eye of his family, his immediate family and the people of Massachusetts, who are all grieving. Our hearts are with them. Ted once said there is no statement that I can make now, to express the pain and regret I felt for my behavior in that episode of Chappaquiddick. He agrees that he has not been a perfect person, but he has tried to do his best, in whatever circumstance he had found himself. Probably one other regret that he had accepted to in political life was his failure to accept universal health care proposal when pitched to him by President Richard Nixon. However, he worked ceaselessly to correct his latter error and left to men to make up their minds about forgiveness for the former. Ted was human, he was one of us, though frail in the latter days of his life due to his illness, he was still fighting hard to make sure that the lives of the ordinary man was better. When he got the message of his diagnosis of brain cancer last summer, he chose to live the rest of his life brilliantly, he did not crawl under a rock rather, stood firm with his wife and family to fight the tide of human fragility. He was able to compartmentalize his private life from his public life. He will be remembered for the generosity of spirit. Ted was a marvelous legislature.

To the living, let us now cherish the work of Senator Edward Kennedy, not by grieving too excessively, but by working so hard to fulfill his dream of a reformed health care system for America. Let us work ceaselessly, just like Ted did, so we can achieve a system, where men and women, Republicans, Independents and Democrats are able to afford care without the fear of loosing their home, marriage, family, bank account and the remaining respect they have after being knocked down by a disease. This is what Ted was passionate about. Let us honor him by completing his work. “Divine providence has granted us this man, that those things he cherish when he was with us, we are honest enough to achieve in his absence.” – Christopher Adekoya. Let us look very long at the benefits of a reformed system, where people are comfortable enough to approach their physician for care, without the fear of going bankrupt!
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