President Obama gave a heartfelt eulogy for Ted Kennedy at his funeral service on Saturday. Among other high praises, he called the senator “a champion for those who had none” and “the soul of the Democratic Party.”
Edward Kennedy, Jr.
Ted Kennedy, Jr., honored his father and “best friend” with a touching story of the way he inspired his son to keep fighting even after the then-12-year-old lost his leg to cancer.
Kennedy’s son Patrick recalled the sense of safety he felt when his father would comfort him through his childhood asthma attacks, saying, “Having asthma was like hitting the jackpot for a child who craved his father’s love and attention.”
John Kerry spoke of the positive impact Kennedy made during his “more than 17,000 days as a United States senator,” including his work to help abolish the military draft, end the war in Vietnam, and pass Medicare. He vowed to help pass health-care reform in his honor. Kerry closed by imagining Kennedy on his beloved schooner, reunited with his lost brothers, saying, “Sail on, my friend. Sail on.”
Vice President Joe Biden spoke of Kennedy’s dignity and selflessness, saying these traits made everyone who encountered the senator want to be a better person. He said Kennedy’s legacy can be found in the way people treat each other now.
Kennedy’s niece, Caroline, talked about the “history trips” her uncle would take the whole family on. Kennedy would occasionally sneak away from the trips when he craved a night at the Ritz instead of a night camping on the cold, hard ground. Caroline Kennedy also spoke of the importance of continuing his legacy, saying, “We are the ones who have to do all the things he would have done, for ourselves and for our country.”
Republican Senator Orrin Hatch playfully recounted the exasperation he felt negotiating with Kennedy over policies and bills, and said that despite their diverse backgrounds and polar opposite stances on, well, everything, he and Kennedy had forged a close friendship.
Sen. Chris Dodd remembered Sen. Ted Kennedy through some of his lighter moments, including a recent phone call in which Kennedy joked that between going through prostate surgery and doing town halls, Dodd made the right choice.
Joseph Kennedy, nephew of Ted, shared a story about a sailing race he participated in with his uncle. When Joe steered them into a buoy and all seemed lost, Kennedy inspired him to keep going and eventually win the race. The lesson Joe had learned from his uncle was, “Don’t ever, ever, ever, ever give up.”
“I think I’m gonna miss him more than I can say,“ Sen. John McCain said. “We disagreed on most issues, but I admired his passion for his convictions.” He said the late senator was “hard to ignore” and that Capitol Hill won’t be the same without him.
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