How strange to think that of the four Kennedy brothers–Joe (killed in World War II), John, Robert and Edward–only one has lived to be old, only one will die of natural causes. John and Bobby became the martyred princes of Camelot, while Teddy got wrinkled and jowly and lost his hair like the rest of us. John and Bobby were largely indifferent, absentee Senators, while Teddy mastered the legislative process and became a powerful voice for his beliefs.
Whatever we think of his work–and I can’t imagine agreeing with all of anyone’s 45-year career in the Senate–we might reserve a kind thought for him over the next few months. I don’t know what his eulogists will say–years from now, I hope– but they might echo the words he spoke at his brother Bobby’s funeral:
My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.