Even before reading any articles recounting Senator Kennedy’s life and accomplishments I was able to paint the smallest picture from my own memories. My thoughts show gaping holes, and could not begin to serve as a eulogy for the man, but, they rose quickly to the surface when he died.
During the Camelot years, when Jack was President, and Robert Attorney General, I thought of Ted as the ‘other brother.’ Ted was the one who didn’t make it all the way to the top of the ladder. And, then he was the only brother alive to carry on the political aspirations of the Kennedy clan.
The bridge at Chappaquiddick came to mind. I remembered the lingering questions: Was Ted Kennedy driving drunk? Did Kennedy family money influence the findings? I also remembered the name of the young woman who died that night forty years ago: Mary Jo Kopechne.
Living and voting in Massachusetts for many years, I was one of the people who returned Ted Kennedy to the Senate time and time again. The Senator was a proponent of health care reform decades before the current debate. Sitting alone, a sadness swept into me, and I felt the loss of a Senator who held a true course in liberal, democratic action. It seemed doubly sad to know Senator Kennedy wouldn’t see how this year’s attempt at reform will end.
Sketchy as my recollections are they led me to reflect that we all carry our past actions with us, in some form or other. Some have lives troubled by scandal and doubt. Yet, the past doesn’t fully determine the present; and all of us can take up the work of justice together.