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August 31, 2009 [ More archived home pages here ]

The Torch Passes Once Again

The above image is, Where Peace Prevails

Today's song is Abraham, Martin and John by Dion, released in 1968.

I started watching the Saturday funeral procession for Senator Ted Kennedy as it was nearing the Arlington National Cemetery. Later I watched some of the news videos of his service at the church. There were some moving moments for that day.

Like many Americans I didn't always politically agree with Ted Kennedy. Sometimes I thought he was right in his causes and sometimes not. He certainly had his troubles in life. I recall the accident in 1969 where a young woman drowned and he was responsible for that. Not an easy thing for him to live with for the next 40 years, I'm sure.

I met him once in 1980 during the Presidential Election Campaign. I was a union worker at International Harvester then and he came and spoke at my Auto Workers Local in Melrose Park, IL. The room was jammed, but I managed to get him to shake my hand. I voted for Ron Reagan that year and became a Republican to help in the landslide against Jimmy Carter. Had Ted Kennedy become President in 1976, I might have stayed a Democrat. As I stand today, I remain as I have for the past two years, an Independent Centrist.

I don't think there will be another political dynasty like the Kennedy's had all these many decades. He may represent the closing of an interesting era in American history.

Ted Kennedy had faults like we all do. He could have stayed out of politics in his adult life. Instead he chose to serve and the people he represented continued to elect him repeatedly. That says a lot about how he was viewed in his state.

It was hard to watch all the Kennedy's be buried: John, Bobby, Jackie, John Jr., and now Ted. They are all near each other in their graves. I've been to that spot in 1990 and the memories of why those spots exist for such a long time now is unsettling.

There are bound to be many more books about Ted's life, about the dynasty, about the future of the Kennedy family. That's how it is to be a public figure, occasionally a controversial public figure, sometimes the figurehead to bear the burdens of so many. Teddy, only the strongest carry the torch as long as you did and as you saw fit. Only death could take it away as it has.

Rest in Peace, Teddy.


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