Ted Kennedy: The Court Jester Who Became a Knight

keendy 1I believe in redemption. But I believe it has to be earned. It is not enough to say we are sorry; we must show that we have turned away from our transgressions and are striving to overcome our weaknesses. That’s why the story of Ted Kennedy moves me so deeply. Once the black sheep of his illustrious and star-crossed family, he has matured into the Lion of the Senate.

I don’t have to mention his scandals. They are public knowledge. The media have feasted on them. And I don’t have to detail the Kennedy tragedies: his brother Joe Jr. killed in World War II… his sister Kathleen the victim of a plane crash over the French Alps … John assassinated… Bobby gunned down… I am sure you know about “the Kennedy Curse.”

Edward Moore Kennedy, born at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the youngest of legendary Joe Kennedy’s nine children, college football star and infamous playboy, notorious for his clowning, scrapes and pranks… Who would’ve thought that he would one day be a member of the U.S. Senate, much less an honorary British knight? (Kennedy family photo below shows from left: Kathleen, Joseph Sr., Rose Fitzgerald, Patricia, Jean, and Bobby, with Teddy in front.)keenedy 2

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the knighthood yesterday during an address to a joint session of Congress in Washington. Brown noted that Kennedy had helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, expand health care for Americans and improve access to education for children around the world.

Kennedy said he was “deeply grateful to her Majesty the Queen and to Prime Minister Brown for this extraordinary honor,” and described it as “a reflection not only of my public life, but of things that profoundly matter to me as an individual.”

kennedy 3After 46 years in the Senate, the 77-year-old Kennedy scion is battling brain cancer while working steadfastly to achieve his lifelong goal of a universal health care plan for America.

He will go down in history as one of the most effective champions of children and working Americans. To the poor and the voiceless, he has been, indeed, a knight in shining armor.