The Commonwealth Comment

Friday, August 28, 2009

And the dream shall never die

My alarm clock buzzed at 6:00 this morning. I wanted to get to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library early. The line waiting to pay respects to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy stretched across the UMass Boston campus the night before and thousands of people waited long hours for only a few moments to say goodbye. I pinned a Kennedy campaign button to my shirt and headed out the door.

I met my friend, Nicolette, at the Park Street T station at 7:30 and we were on the red line to JFK/UMass in no time. Once we arrived in Dorchester, we were squished onto a shuttle with other Kennedy admirers to bring us to the JFK Library.

Our stint in the long line started at 8:00. It was a tremendous group of diverse people. Young, old, black, white, Asian, and even more. There was even a large Native American man dressed in full Pequot robes present to pay tribute to the senator. The Reverend Jesse Jackson even made his way along the line shaking hands before making his way into the library.

As Nicolette and I made it through the doors (after about 45 minutes in line), we were immediately greeted by large photos of Ted Kennedy as a boy with his brothers Jack and Bobby, and as an older senator. The flag draped casket was sitting in the Smith Room overlooking the ocean, Boston's skyline was silhouetted beyond the water. There is no better place for the senator to lie in repose.

The room was in complete silence as we circled around the casket. I said a short, silent prayer for the senator and his family. The whole tone was extremely respectful. I got to the far side of the room and was greeted by the outstretched hand of Kara Kennedy, Ted's daughter. She thanked me for coming, and I in return thanked her for sharing her father with all of us. She then notice my button, which reads "If I were 21, I'd vote for Kennedy". With a smile she jokingly asked if I was 21 yet. I laughed and told her yes, and that I voted for her father in his last campaign.

Once I was back outside, I walked over and placed a small thank you note to the senator among the flowers sitting against the building.

The Kennedys have so much money and influence. They could keep it all to themselves and live down on Cape Cod without a care in the world. But instead, they use it to advance the cause of all people and that those in need. They live by the bible verse Luke 12:48, "Of those to whom much is given, much is expected." So, he has championed civil rights, women's rights, higher minimum wage, education reform, universal healthcare, among countless other issues.

If we all do our best to live our lives in the service of others, we can assure that Senator Ted Kennedy's dream will never die.

God Bless you, Senator Kennedy, and thank you for your service.

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