Edward Kennedy: A Legend Of The Senate

This week you've heard some of the big moments in Sen. Edward Kennedy's career: his speech at the 1980 Democratic convention, the eulogies he delivered for his brother, Bobby Kennedy, his mother, Rose, and his nephew, John F. Kennedy, Jr. But Ted Kennedy was a man of the U.S. Senate, and that's where the absence of his voice may be most conspicuous for most of us. Host Scott Simon shares a remembrance of Sen. Kennedy.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

And here is President Kennedy giving the eulogy at Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral today in Boston.

President BARACK OBAMA: We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know what God's plan is for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose and with love and with joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves.

We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures, and we can strive at all costs to make a better world so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we know that we spent it well, that we made a difference, that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of others.

This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy. He once said, as has already mentioned of his brother Bobby, that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death because what he was in life, and I imagine he would say the same about himself.

The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy, not for the sake of ambition or vanity, not for wealth or power, but only for the people and the country that he loved.

SIMON: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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