Senator Edward Kennedy - 1932-2009
Senator Edward M. Kennedy ("Ted"), died at 77 on August 25, 2009, leaving behind an inestimable legacy. Over the weekend, President Obama, former presidents, current and former senators, and a host of other public figures, longtime friends, and well-wishers gathered to pay their final respects to the last of the Kennedy brothers.
Winning election to the senate seat held by JFK in a 1962 special election, Teddy's 46-year Senate career was marked by great tragedy and great accomplishments - the murder of his older brothers, the incident at Chappaquiddick, his 1980 presidential primary defeat to incumbent President Jimmy Carter, and his resurgence as the "liberal lion" of the senate, championing civil rights and health care reform, which he called "the cause of my life."
Throughout much of 2008 and 2009, Kennedy fought the debilitating effects of brain cancer, but famously took the stage for what would be his last great speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention, effectively passing the baton of leadership to the next generation.
In a statement made Wednesday, President Obama said of Kennedy, "An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time."