The Gospel text for Ted Kennedy's funeral was the story of the Last Judgment, in which Jesus states that the requirement for entering the Kingdom is whether you served the sick, the poor, the hungry, the prisoner, and the stranger. For me this is the most important reason, not the only significant one, for being so immensely grateful for the life and work of Edward Kennedy.
I had the privilege of being in his office one day in 1979. I was with a group returning with a report and recommendations from a Citizens Committee sponsored by the International Rescue Committee to
investigate the "boat people" escaping from South Vietnam. We were warmly greeted with appreciation by his staff and by the Senator. We also gave the report to Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter and testified before a House Subcomittee. But in Washington it was the pleasure of meeting and being greeted by the Kennedy I most admired that I treasure beyond all others.
My appreciation and affection for him grows as I learn more about him-- his many personal kindnesses to so many people in places high and low. His humor, hope, his political skills as passionate crusader for peace and justice combined with his ability to respect and cultivate deep personal friendships with his foes, and for so many other things.
I weep as I watch younger members of his family offer prayers highlighting his life-long passion for improving the lives of the left out and the left behind. I thank God for his life.
Even the heavens wept as family stood outside waiting to go in the church.
Teddy, Oh Teddy, how we will miss you, Oh how we will miss you.