Skip to main content

By John Wilkes from

Democratic Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy- Lion of the Senate, patriarch of the Democratic Party, and the last son of the greatest generation of the greatest political family in American history- has died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts at 77 years age following a long battle with brain cancer.

Senator Ted Kennedy- Lion of the Senate, patriarch of the Democratic Party, and the last son of the greatest generation of the greatest political family in American history - has died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachuseets at 77 years of age following a long battle with brain cancer.

Kennedy was the youngest child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, a full seventeen years the junior of the eldest of the Kennedy children, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (who died in a plane crash during World War II), and fifteen years younger than his famous elder brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

After finishing at Harvard and graduating cum laude at the University of Virginia School of Law, he made his first foray into politics when John was elected president in 1960.  Just 29 years old at the time, Kennedy waited until he could constitutionally qualify for election to the Senate, and ran two years later.  He took office with a wide margin, and would repeat his success eight more times for a total of just under 47 years.  He was the second most senior member of the Senate, and the third longest serving Senator of all time.

Kennedy was just 31 when his brother John was assassinated in 1963.  He'd experience even greater pain five years later when his other brother, Robert- with whom Ted had been incredibly close- was shot in 1968.  He became a surrogate father to all 13 of his brothers' children following their deaths.

Kennedy sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1980, setting up a contentious battle between he and the incumbent Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.  But reports of past personal problems and a disorganized campaign prevailed, culminating in Kennedy's concession speech that today is regarded as among the finest in American political history.  "For all those whose cares have been our concern," he said, "the work goes one, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

Kennedy spent the next 29 years as one of the most influential men in the Senate, championing such causes as immigration reform, health care reform, and workers' rights.  In 2008, he waded into a nasty battle for the Democratic nomination and threw his support behind Senator Barack Obama, largely seen as the turning point in his contest against then-Senator Hillary Clinton.

He was diagnosed with brain cancer in late 2008.  He passed away on August 25, 2009 just before midnight.


For anyone who grew up in an Irish Catholic community, the Irish funeral blessing is one you've heard a hundred times.  And for an Irish American Catholic like Ted Kennedy, perhaps no parting words are more appropriate.

The brother of the first Catholic President of the United States, and a champion for peace in Ireland throughout its years of heartache and trouble, Ted Kennedy was a treasure to the nation that now mourns his loss.

With that, Senator, we bid you slán go fóil, Irish Gaelic meaning "Goodbye for awhile".

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

May the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand.

Originally posted to eyesonobama on Wed Aug 26, 2009 at 12:37 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site