Dear Joan-Francesc,

One year ago today, our country lost a dear friend, a true patriot, and an irreplaceable public servant. Today, more than ever, we miss Senator Ted Kennedy.

But, as we pause on this anniversary, let us reflect not on the tremendous loss but on the indomitable spirit that lives on — a spirit that inspires all of us to fulfill his vision of an engaged electorate and legislative branch, with members of both parties working together to make America a more perfect union.

We are lifted up by the Senator’s words that gave witness to his own life’s experience and called on us to rise to the challenge in our own time: “We are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. And we can do it again.”

By his own example, Ted Kennedy showed us that men and women of good will can come together to solve our nation’s most difficult problems. No challenge is too great. No problem is too hard. He taught us about extraordinary perseverance and the will to keep coming back — no matter what.

He didn’t question or demonize the motives of his colleagues because he knew they loved their country as much as he did. He reached out to them, created alliances and worked through differences, let others take credit — just to move the issue forward.

He did this while not compromising on his principles. As President Obama said in his eulogy, “And that’s how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause.”

Senator Kennedy believed that we could and must learn from the past. He always looked to the future with optimism and unfailing perseverance in the pursuit of equal rights, civil rights, and justice for all.

On this anniversary day — and in the days to come — let us look to the future with optimism and unfailing perseverance. Let us learn from the Senator’s example and once again, “scale the heights” and become engaged in solving the most difficult problems of today. As Senator Ted Kennedy said, “And we can do it again!”

As we recall the indomitable spirit that lives on, we also think of the Kennedy family and wish them peace and happiness on this day of remembrance.


Lee Fentress
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

Peter Meade
President and CEO
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate