I would also like to turn over the rest of my blog today to my friend and former high school English teacher Mary Freund, who sent me this thoughtful note this morning:
Senator Ted Kennedy died today, and I am sad. Saddened at his passing, and saddened because his death marks the end of Kennedy influence on my life, and I am forever grateful for all Kennedy inspiration.
I was just ready to start high school as John Kennedy was running for President, and the controversy opened my eyes; I was growing up in heart of the John Birch society and heard people I loved speak out about not letting a “damn fish-eater” in office. The Camelot years were hopeful, joyful and full of ideas. For me, the Kennedys balanced the hatred of grandma Mac who taught me more about racism than anyone. John’s assassination was announced in Mrs. Jacob’s English class, and I put my head down and cried.
I read every biography or history of the Kennedys; I have more copies of the POST magazine with the Warren report than even mom did. I campaigned my heart out for Bobby when I was a senior in college. I’’ve made posters for my dorm room and classroom, stick-it notes in certain books, and even letterhead carrying the Kennedy slogans and quotes. Joe, the patriarch of the Kennedy clan, was a tycoon and strict father; he believed: THOSE MUST GIVE MUCH TO WHOM MUCH HAS BEEN GIVEN, (for I believe I , too, have been given much) and he raised the Kennedy children to give much: 3 sons’ died for this country, Eunice was a pillar of social service, all Kennedys embraced the Civil Rights Movement, and Teddy wanted national health care forty years ago.
And so, for today, I am sad. Sad for the Kennedys, and sad for the loss of Camelot influence as it has faded, sad for all the high school seniors who have never lived in an aware society of hopefulness and inspiration, sad because this crucial vote for health care could have used Ted’s leadership.
My hopefulness is for this country to carry on the concept of helping others, easing the way through life’s harshness by doing the right thing, We must have national health care.