We are saying goodbye to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, scion on the Kennedy clan, Lion of the Senate, good Irishman. He was my Senator but much more than that. He was a Kennedy - but much more than that. He was man who had his trials and tribulations. He was a man who put other things and most importantly others before himself. He has made such an impact on this country having been not only a politician but a master craftsman of policy that has changed this country for the better in so many ways. I won't go into all that he has done, the news and historians are doing a much better job than that. I am brought to tears whenever I see news about his passing on TV or read about it on the web. I was shocked Wednesday morning when I turned on the early early edition of CBS Boston and heard he had passed in the night. I cried before I left for work.
He was a man who could have never worked a day in his life but he chose to serve his country. He served it tirelessly, working up until the day he passed. He never took a salary for his job. I had the privilege of meeting him a few times. For a while I seemed to be boarding the same flight from DC to Boston as he and his wife about every other week. (She's from Louisiana too you now.) He was very approachable, outgoing, and chatted easily with everyone. He always sat in coach with the rest of us, usually chatting with his wife and other seatmates while glancing at a magazine or newspaper. I remember a young father introducing his son to him after we landed at the Boston airport. He shook the little boy's hand and asked him all about himself - age, grade, school, sports. He then told him to be a good boy, listen to his father, and keep cheering on the Red Sox. The father beamed with pride as Sen. Kennedy went to pick up his luggage. There was also a flight when he was coming home for an extended time and waited anxiously for their two Portuguese water dogs to be brought to them in their crates. When they arrived, he quickly unlatched them, gave them each a quick series of pets, then led them outside for a quick potty stop. How humanizing to see him taking his dogs to do their business!
Teddy, as I fondly thought of him, was a great man. He will be greatly missed by so many. He leaves behind a heck of a legacy. I will miss his efforts for Massachusetts and this country. I think next time I fly the US Airways Shuttle from DC to Boston I'll be thinking of him.
He's in good company now. I thought of my Charlie up in heaven looking up to see Teddy walking by and saying "You too huh? Have a pint on me!" One great Irishman to another.
May God Bless. My sympathies and prayers are with his family.