Another Part Of My Youth Slips Into History: Senator Ted Kennedy
We weren’t big Kennedy supporters in my family, in-fact my parents were very strong Republicans in the early 60’s.
Dad, 8th Army Air Corp during the war, was a “follow the General” anywhere type when it came to Eisenhower and that went with Nixon because “Ike” backed him.
Mom, English born and raised, couldn’t support Jack Kennedy because his father Joe had told the English “to give in to Hitler” when he was Ambassador to England at the start of WWII, and before his recall, so she couldn’t forgive him for being an appeaser and vote for Jack Kennedy.
I really was just getting interest in the political game, I was only 14 in 1960, and really only had the info that was generated at home to form my opinions.
Later, as the 60’s progressed, I started my march to “liberalism” and became a supporter of Bobby Kennedy, but only after a brief stop at “Libertarian Republicanism” and Barry Goldwater.
Like all American’s, I can tell you where I was, place and time, when President Kennedy was assassinated and the same goes for when Bobby Kennedy was shot.
Bobby’s death did affect me in a profound way and I still remember how sensitive my Mom was to that fact. She didn’t know what to do with her “liberal” and “idealistic” son but that wasn’t apparent when she sent me a letter overseas to express her sadness. She knew her soldier son would be hurting and disillusioned.
She ended the letter with a quote that I have kept with me all my life, “Dream the Dream, it will become reality.”
I admired Ted Kennedy but never felt the same passion for him and his idealism that others felt, tho he, and his other two brothers, are the biggest part of my early political growth in the 60’s, with his influence being felt right up into the new century.
His legislative genius will be sorely missed and especially during these crucial days of debate on Universal Health Reform.
His sensitivity towards those who are hurting, down trodden, needing of a hug, a gentle hand on the shoulder or a ear to listen will not be seen again.
I am reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story The Freshest Boy where he states
“It isn’t given to us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal.”
Obviously Senator Kennedy was blessed with the ability to see those moments.
I was fortunate to hear and see the Senator at the 2004 DNC in Boston where I was an elected Alternate Delegate for John Kerry. The following photo’s are from my vantage point as member of the Ohio delegation.
Another part of my youth has slipped into history.