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A Tribute to Ted Kennedy

I still remember vividly the only time I met Senator Ted Kennedy. It was back in the Spring of 1975 on my senior class trip to Washington DC. I was from a small, rural school in southwest Michigan and I remember loving DC. My favorite part was visiting the monuments:  Iwo Jima Flag raising, Arlington Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I think it was on that trip (my only trip to DC) that I got the idea of joining the Marine Corps. Semper Fi.

So there I was in DC with about nine other students, all female, and taking in the sights. I'm sure I had "tourist" written all over me. The girls wanted to meet Teddy, so they camped out in front of his office for quite a long time just on the off chance that he would walk out. I thought it was silly. They were treating him like a rock star and I've never understood that mentality much. All I knew about Ted Kennedy was  his brother had been President and had been assassinated. I remember watching the funeral motorcade on TV in black and white at my grandmother's house while very young. I remember watching his brother, Robert, get shot several years later.

So there I was in front of his office door surrounded by giddy girls, bored out of my skull, when out walked three people. The girls started to swoon. I remember my first thought was: "I think he has red hair? Did his brothers have red hair?" Truth be known I'd never seen his brothers in full color since all we had during those days was a black and white television. While I was lost in my deep thoughts, Ted Kennedy walked up to me and stuck out his hand. On reflex alone, I shoved my hand out and he took it and pumped it up and down a few times.

We had a small conversation and it went like this:

Senator Kennedy:  "Hi."
Skip: (Silence)
Senator Kennedy:  "Thanks for stopping by."
Skip: (Silence)
Senator Kennedy:  "Well, it was nice meeting you."
Skip:  (Silence)
Senator Kennedy: "Okay, you have a nice day."
Skip:  (Silence)

And then he walked off down the hall. I turned and watched as he left, his young daughter on one side and his wife on the other. I was still silently watching as he stepped into the elevator and the doors closed.

And then I noticed the girls hovering around me saying "He met Ted Kennedy. Jerome met Ted Kennedy!" (Jerome is my legal name and the one I used back in school.)

I just walked away. Truth is, I was intimidated by the man. Despite his friendliness toward me, he was an imposing figure. Many times since that day I've wanted to relive that experience and give him a piece of my mind. But that's the "adult" Skip Coryell talking, and the child "Skip" is the one who met him. That will never change. Since the announcement of his death, I've been getting several emails from conservatives celebrating his demise. I don't like that.

Sure, he was about as liberal as they get, and I disagree with him politically, especially on gun control issues, but, still...

You have to draw the line somewhere. You have to be civil. At the very least, you have to respect the dead. I was raised with values like that. When a man dies, even a man like Ted Kennedy who fought to stifle our Second Amendment rights at every turn, you have to render respect. At the very least, don't give your darkest thoughts voice, don't send me emails celebrating a man's death. It's not right.

That's been on my mind since yesterday and I just wanted to get it off my chest. And I've been wondering, if I could speak to Ted Kennedy now, what would I say to him? And the same answer keeps coming back to me. Probably nothing. The Lion of the Senate is dead.


  • SEMichGunRights 5 years ago

    Well said, Skip. I remember JFK's assassination, or at least its immediate effects very well. It was the first and one of the few times I remember seeing my father cry. He wasn’t crying for JFK, he was crying for America. He and my mother despised Kennedy’s politics and disagreed with his life style, but what my father said always stayed with me, “This is not the way we do things in America! We vote people out if we don’t like their politics!”. I have had occasion to remember his words and his belief many times, but no more so than since the election of Barack Obama, the most liberal president we have ever had. There have been occasional times since the election of BHO when news reports have raised fears in me that it could happen again and I have been sure to tell my children, “That is not the way we do things in America. We must have peaceful transitions of power or the Republic is lost.”

  • Rob 5 years ago

    He was one of the enemy and I celebrate his death. One less to deal with and he was a BIG one. Good riddance.

  • Ronson 5 years ago

    See Dave Workman's article on this disengenuous,self serving, drunken, murdering hypocrite and his legacy of attacks on the Constitution. This "nice" guy had so many downright evil facets to his life, I marvel that any but the most blind or naive could see him as any kind of hero.

  • Perky 5 years ago

    Skip, a lot of "nice" people are also alot of other things, too. In the case of Ted Kennedy, there are a lot of very ugly facets to his personality, not the least of which was his lifelong binge drinking and partying habit that cost at least one person, Mary Jo Kopechne, her life. Probably anyone other than a Kennedy would have done serious jail time for manslaughter or negligent homicide on that fiasco, yet I remember like it was yesterday that he simply "rejected" criticism that his behavior might be criminal, and got away with it. The rest of his personal and political life hasn't been any better, in my opinion (see Dave Workman's article.)

  • MP340 5 years ago

    His name and money bailed him out of jail, any one else woul have served time for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, take a look at the whole family will find a lot of dry-rot.
    I don't wish anything bad on anybody, so may he R.I.P.

  • Jek Silberstein 5 years ago

    Dear Skip: Didn't you cry when Mao Tse Sung died? Mao killed MILLIONS of his own people, but he had his "affable-moments" Or "Uncle Ho"?--arranged for about 50K of our Vietnam Viets to "Buy Our Farms"? Well, since the passage of Rowe vs Wade, Teddy supported the abortion(murder) of about 40 million babies--enough to have made Social Security solvent, and to have kept Demon-cratic Scumbags from trotting around, trying to STEAL our weapons. Then people like you want to feel warm & fuzzy about another dirty pol, LYIN' in the Senate! I ASKED FOR...and finally GOT his head from the Lord Almighty. I don't loose a MINUTE of sleep, and Praise Jesus that people like Ted are receiving their reward, in Hell if not Purgatory.

  • Dr. Botkin 5 years ago

    Since they are dead, I assume you also have respect for Hitler, Stalin and Mao.