There is nothing that I can say that has not yet been said by any of the talking heads in the media about his life, career, strength, courage... well, you get the point.
Instead, I will tell you a story. One year ago yesterday, was the day I became a supporter of then-Senator Barack Obama. I can tell you exactly where I was: sitting in an over-sized chair that my family has dubbed "The Death Chair" in my living room in my summer house. My mother was sitting adjacent to me on the sofa. The two of us were watching the Democratic National Convention.
As many of you may know, I was a strong Hillary Clinton supporter. After Sen. Obama received enough votes to be the Democratic nominee, I still was still weary to support him. I found the Senator to be inexperienced and disingenuous. Unless he chose then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to be his running-mate (which I thought to be a winning ticket), I was planning on voting for Ralph Nader. I still had my qualms, however, even after then-Senator Joseph Biden was chosen to be the Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee.
Being the good Democrat that I am, I watched the Convention religiously. I openly cheered when some of my favorite Senators, Congressmen, and Governors took the podium to give their two cents.
My mother and I were curious if Senator Kennedy would make an appearance at the Convention. The Convention was in Denver and he was undergoing treatment in Massachusetts. He was only diagnosed 2 months prior, there is no way he could make it out there, my mother and I thought.
Then, at around 9:15 PM EST, the announcer introduced Caroline Kennedy and we knew who was coming next: her Uncle Ted.
Regardless of all of the treatment he went through, he looked as healthy and as strong as ever. If I remember correctly, when Sen. Kennedy took the stage, I myself stood up and cheered in my living room.
It was at 9:33, when Sen. Kennedy said
For me this is a season of hope - new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few - new hope.Within those two minutes, in which he said those four, short paragraphs, I became a supporter of Barack Obama for President of the United States. Senator Edward Kennedy, a man I, in many ways, idolized, told me that two of the most important issues for me -universal health care and gay rights- would be accomplished under an Obama presidency. I told myself that if Senator Kennedy, someone with whom I shared a dream for America, knew that this was the right person for the job of President of the United States, then he was my nominee.
And this is the cause of my life - new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American - north, south, east, west, young, old - will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege!
We can meet these challenges with Barack Obama. Yes, we can, and finally, yes, we will!
Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race and gender and group against group and straight against gay.
At 9:34 P.M. EST on August 25, 2008, I re-united with my party in a nominee for President.
Within the next few days, my mother (who was planning on writing-in Senator Clinton) joined the Obama band-wagon; and, a few days after that, my (paleo-conservative) Republican father (a McCain supporter) moved to be a supporter of Senator Obama (though the initial spark for the change in his vote was due to a certain unqualified Vice Presidential nominee that shall remain anonymous). For the next two months until the election, my family, with each passing day, became more and more supportive of the Democratic Nominee for President.
On November 4, 2008, I was watching the returns with my parents. The number of states with votes "too close to call" grew ever larger. It was around 10:30 PM that my parents went to bed. I had work the next day, but had no obligation to a time-frame when which to arrive. I budgeted myself until 1 AM to stay awake.
I figured that the returns would go on until 1 in the morning. So, I put on a television show that I had recorded from earlier that evening - 90210. (Yes, I watch 90210. I have a thing for teen dramas -I don't know why- and the star -Shenae Grimes- is my celebrity crush.) I get about 10 minutes into the show, when at 11 PM, from the back of my ear, I hear the voice of Charlie Gibson originating from my parent's bedroom; "For the first time in American History, the country will have an African-American President." To say that I started screaming would be an understatement (I have little doubt that the three young children in the apartment next-door to mine woke-up).
When I heard the news that I helped change (in more ways than one) come to this nation, I felt overly proud (in a way that words will never describe). And, I, for one, owe that all to the late Senator Edward Kennedy.
Thank You "Teddy!" May you rest in peace.