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Friday, August 28, 2009

Slan go foill - Gaelic Farewell to Senator Edward M. Kennedy

We mourn Senator Kennedy's death in August 2009, because his passing marks the end of a generation of events intertwined with our own lives.

Although the Lion of the Senate was a superb statesman representing the state of Massachusetts and our nation, his death is personally touching for those of us who grew up with the tragic events in the Kennedy family having a profound impact on our own lives. For example, I met my husband Richard in Baltimore, Maryland in November 1963, precisely because he was home from his job with the Navy and I was home from attending nursing school due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. We all watched the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers and their deeply touching funerals. And, sadly, so on....

Senator Kennedy's death is a reminder of our own mortality as it forces us to recall how his life impacted our time on earth. Mourning his death is sadly nostalgic. It's like we are experiencing a collective Don MacLean deja vu, and "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" is not just a song but a prophesy. It's a prediction about how we need to live and improve our lives because, after all, "them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye; Singin', this'll be the day that I die".

Yes, it will be our turn one of these days.

So, what do we learn from the lives of the Kennedy's? To me their lives signify redemption because, regardless of all the terrible, awful, hurtful and vitriolic information circulated about them, they persevered. In spite of it all, they proved how much they cared about America.

Each Kennedy, every one to a person, worked hard to improve the human condition through a dedication to public service. They could have purchased an island in the Caribbean and given up on America, but they didn't. For their love of our country and their collective passion for helping others, I give a heartfelt thank you to every Kennedy in America's enduring politcal family.

For Ted Kennedy, I say "Slan go foill", which, I found in Gaelic means, "See you soon". It's an important phrase because, as we know by the calendar, my generation are the American Pie good old boys.

I can only pray another generation is lined up behind us American Pie folks, inspired by liberal thinking and with a passion for good works, in the same way the Kennedy's positively affected me.

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