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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.
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
President and CEO
Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate
My husband’s work will never be forgotten.
In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen Congress make monumental strides on what he called the cause of his life: ensuring that every American has access to quality, affordable health care. In the coming weeks of this bright new year, Congress will be hard at work to make Ted’s decades-long dream of health reform a reality for all Americans.
But there’s another project that Ted dedicated himself to in his final months, and I want to tell you a little bit about it: the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The EMK Institute is being built on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, across from the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, to foster civic education among our young people, train our next generation of leaders, continue debate on the national issues Ted cared so much about, and commemorate his 47-year career.
Joan-Francesc, you stood side by side with Senator Kennedy — during our greatest victories and our most challenging setbacks. And Ted knew that his friends and loved ones would be there for him again to support the Institute and help celebrate all that he did and stood for.
A few years ago at a family gathering, Ted noted to us that we don’t have a single place in America dedicated to the study of the U.S. Senate — and we need one. Ted always believed that to inspire the brightest future for our young people, we had to understand our past. And perhaps no body of leadership tells the story of the nation more directly than the United States Senate. Every voice, debate and vote echoed in that chamber has made a mark on the course of this country.
By educating students, teachers, new Senators, and the general public about the role and importance of the Senate, Ted believed we could help inspire a new era of civic participation — and bring more people than ever before into the legislative process.
The first learning center of its kind, the EMK Institute will include a life-size representation of the Senate chamber to hold debates on critical issues with national leaders and mock U.S. Senate sessions for our country’s future leaders. There will be museum and exhibit spaces, a library, and classrooms where everyone from young children to Senate staffers will be able to participate in innovative and hands-on educational programs. Teachers will be able to work closely with the Institute to create courses and programs that add new dimensions to the study of history and government.
Ted loved this country — and he loved the United States Senate. He called it one of our forefathers’ most brilliant democratic inventions. Our mission now is to give him exactly the sort of everlasting tribute he would have loved the most — a place where young people can learn about America’s history and the role of the Senate in shaping it, and where future leaders can be born. In the weeks and months ahead, we hope you’ll join us as we build the Edward M. Kennedy Institute — and the lasting memory of Ted’s career.
Ted was so proud of the progress we’ve made as a nation in ensuring fairness, justice and opportunity for all — and he was proud that you were there to help him.
Victoria Reggie Kennedy
Senator Edward Kennedy has been a constant reference for me in the fight for a better world. I listened to him on the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco and I vibrated with each of his words. I was impressed by the criticism of the destruction of the welfare policy carried by President Reagan. In my academic work I have ever put him as an example of the ability of the United States to generate great political leaders and also as an example of someone who could understand Europe from America and be understood in America from Europe. Never forget.
Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.
For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts
His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education’s promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.
In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that’s one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.
His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we’ve all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.
For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today — to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.
Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.
President Barack Obama
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Democratic icon and a leading liberal voice, endorsed Barack Obama on Monday for the party’s presidential nomination and called the young lawmaker an inspirational uniter.
“He is tough-minded but he also has an uncommon capacity to appeal to ‘the better angels of our nature,'” Kennedy said, quoting from President Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address in 1861.
Kennedy, flanked by Obama at an ear-splitting rally of several thousand people at American University, said, “Every time I’ve been asked over the past year who I would support in the Democratic primary, my answer has always been the same: I’ll support the candidate who inspires me, who inspires all of us.”
Kennedy invoked the memory of his brother, the slain President John Kennedy, and was joined onstage by the late president’s daughter, Caroline, and his own son, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, in backing Obama, the 46-year-old, first-term Illinois senator who could be the nation’s first black president.