Sunday, August 30, 2009

Teddy's Eeewlogy

Text of President Barack Obama's eulogy at Sen. Edward Kennedy's funeral Mass on Saturday in Boston, as he would have said it if he'd dared to speak the truth.

Mrs. Kennedy, Kara, Edward, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, members of the Kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; weighty heir to a legacy. a champion for those who had none; the soul of the soul less Democratic Party; and the lion liar of the U.S. Senate — a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, who penned more than three hundred himself and broke nearly all of them.

But those of us who loved him, and ache with his passing, know Ted Kennedy by the other titles he held: Father. Brother. Husband. Uncle Teddy, or as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, "The Grand Fromage Murderer drunk bastard, phillanderer, cheater fraud," or "The Big Cheese sleeze." I, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleaguecrook, a mentor mental case, and above all, a friend fiend.

Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch but never grew up; the restless dreamer who became its rock rot. He was the sunny, joyful child, who bore the brunt of his brothers' teasing, but learned quickly how to brush it off. When they tossed him off a boat because he didn't know what a jib was, six-year-old Teddy got back in and learned to sail. When a photographer asked the newly elected Bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, Teddy quipped, "It'll be the same in Washington."

This spirit of resilience and good humor ability to swim would see Ted Kennedy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them. Murdered a woman foolish enough to get in a car with him. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.

It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man, but his family had money from rum running and a slew of connected cronies. And it would have been easy for Teddy to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity law enforcement and regret nothing; to retreat from public life to a prison and live out his years in peaceful quiet behind bars. No one would have blamed him for that.


Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy's legislative success, and he knew that It was money, dirty money. A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time. Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, "What did Webster do? I've done nothing. "

But though it is Ted Kennedy's historic body of achievements we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. snip by the way, that's my second favorite gift from Teddy and Vicki after our dog named Bo because the kids can't spell Bob.


This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy. He once said of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, and I imagine he would say the same about himself. If not, I'm sure the Pall bears would. The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. His sister Eunice founded the special olympics so he could have a chance of winning at something without cheating. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy — not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country he loved.


In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack. But he didn't stop there. He kept calling and checking up on them trying to get dates with the lonely widows. He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counseling. He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along. To one widow, he wrote the following:

"As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved one would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us." Anything to get laid

We carry on.

Ted Kennedy has gone home to hell now, guided by his lack of faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, at leastt with the ones who forsook GOD leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the little good he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image — the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled; smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for what storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon swimming away from a woman trapped inside an upsidedown car, abandoned to a horrible fate, death by asphixiation. May God Bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.

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