He has been in the U.S. Senate almost as long as President Obama has been alive. He was instrumental in the passage of the Civil Rights Act, Title IX, health care for poor children, lowering the voting age to 18, COBRA, No Child Left Behind, legislation in support of seniors and veterans, some 2,500 pieces of legislation in all. A master negotiator with those on both sides of the aisle, and a man who always remembered and reached out to those who had suffered tragedy, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy, like Michael Jackson and Walter Cronkite, was the product of a time that dictated we will not see his like again. He was the only Kennedy brother to live to seniority (or die of a natural cause), dead at 77.
Interesting that he would die so close to the passing of his dear sister Eunice, and the same summer as the national health insurance debate (while the current president is vacationing near Hyannis).
Thrust into leadership of his state and his family at an early age, Ted Kennedy was admired beyond partisanship, and dedicated his life to bettering those of others. In Senate annals, he is in the esteemed company of influential lawmakers such as Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Everett Dirksen, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, and his colleague Robert Byrd. The baby of America’s First Family is gone, the last surviving child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy.
What a summer this has been for celebrity deaths- Michael, Cronkite, Steve McNair, Robert Novak. Don Hewitt. Huge names in D.C., beloved figures on Cape Cod and The Islands. I imagine there will be not only a public memorial to Senator Kennedy in D.C., during which his body will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol (probably this weekend or Monday), but a private service on Cape Cod as well.