Edward Kennedy died today and thus another American icon has passed. I did not know Senator Kennedy personally, but as a fellow New Englander I always felt some vague connection to him. I also had considerable respect for the man.
His detractors will no doubt focus on the death that he caused. That event should not, of course, be swept under the rug or forgotten. Nor should his struggle with more private demons. Despite these dark aspects of his life, he did great things and was, to use the standard cliche, a great man. He stood up for what he believed and fought bravely against his own death to continue to contribute to the causes he valued. Agree or disagree with him, his largeness of character and devotion to his principles cannot be doubted.
I vividly recaall a comment made when he survived the plane crash that broke his back (obviously froma replay, since I am only 43). The commentator said it was a miracle he had survived. Hearing that and reflecting on what has happened to him and his family, I thought that the best way to describe his life is both tragic and miraculous.
Since, as I said above, I never met him, it follows that I do not have much to say beyond that. I cannot comment on the true person, just the public persona. However, his death does mark a loss for America and we must hope for someone worthy to step into the vast vacancy he has left.
Out of respect for the dead, hateful comments against him should be held off to at least tomorrow. Decency requires at least that degree of restraint.