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Eulogy Speeches, Examples-iconSenator Edward Kennedy - Eulogies from the White House

The funeral eulogy of Senator Edward Kennedy was delivered on August 29th, 2009, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Roxbury, Massachusetts, by President Barack Obama. Edward Kennedy (often called Ted) died after a long battle with a malignant brain tumor. His death was seen as the end of the political era that was marked by the Kennedy vision for the Democratic Party and for the future of America. 

Senator Kennedy served in his position for forty seven years, and at the funeral there were many people who attended to say farewell to the man. Among these were former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George Bush. The marked presence of all those who came to pay their respects attested to his diligence and service as a member of the Senate. 

Before the service Vice-President Joe Biden gave a speech memorializing his long time friend. In it the emotional Biden stated that Ted Kennedy was “never defeatist, he never was petty – never was petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger, both his adversaries as well as his allies.”

During the eulogy, President Obama commented on Senator Kennedy’s work in the Senate when he said that the world would remember “Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic Party; and the lion of the United States Senate – a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than three hundred laws himself.”

The Kennedy family tragedies were also highlighted when President Obama spoke in the eulogy about Edward’s good spirit and humor and how “That spirit of resilience and good humor would see Teddy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from a country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks on the most public way possible.”

“It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Ted to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet.  No one would have blamed him for that. But that was not Ted Kennedy.”

President Obama went on to say that Ted Kennedy was the type of man who helped to be the father figure for both John and Bobby Kennedy’s children after their deaths. This included doing everything from camping and sailing to walking Caroline Kennedy down the aisle when she was married. He summed this up by saying that “not only did the Kennedy family make it because of Ted’s love – he made it because of theirs.” 

President Obama closed the eulogy by saying that “Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those that he has loved and lost.  At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good that he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image – the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled, smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for whatever storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon.” 

After the funeral service Ted Kennedy was laid to rest next to his brothers John and Bobby in Arlington National Cemetery.

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