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CNN Live Event/Special
Memorial Service for Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Aired August 28, 2009 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Let's listen in to Paul Kirk, the former chairman of the Democratic Party, a close friend of Senator Kennedy's.
PAUL KIRK, JR. CHAIRMAN, JFK PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: And whose care giving these past 15 months was nothing less than heroic and inspirational. Our hearts are with all of where you.
To lead us in a prayer for Senator Kennedy's peace and the strength of his loved ones, I invite Father Gerry Creeden to offer an invocation, after which the Boston Community Chorus will open the celebration by singing, "God Bless America" and I hope you will join them.
REV. GERRY CREEDON, ST. CHARLES BORROMEO CATHOLIC CHURCH: Blessed are those who have eyes to see what you see and ears to hear what you hear. The work goes on. The cause endures. The hope still lives and the dream shall never die. He knew sleep and wakeful night nights, he had his nightmares, and, yet, he dreamt a dream that was dreamt of the heart and only his great heart could hold.
He gave flesh to that dream. The noble house of his thought where the sick were healed, the spear broken, and the stranger welcome. It is the age old dream of the prophets, thy kingdom come. There will be a banquet yet for the (ph) last who feast. He goes ahead of us to lay the table of generosity. It is a dream of joy, insoluble sign of the presence of God, the last, the song of roses, the music, may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
(SONG/GOD BLESS AMERICA/PERFORMED BY BOSTON COMMUNITY CHORUS)
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KIRK: It was -- it was Senator Kennedy who suggested that when the time arrived, there would be a gathering like this, and he selected as the venue this library where politics and public service are honored every day in the name of his brothers. Thinking back upon other times when we have felt the ache of emptiness, he was the one from who we would draw comfort and strength, and I suspect tonight will be no different.
I have never met anyone whose spirits were not uplifted by being in the company of Ted Kennedy, and I hope you will feel that way once again when you leave his presence this evening. He wanted us to smile and be joyful. As we remember and celebrate the depth of his faith, the quality of his character, the generosity of his heart, his love of his family and his friends, his patriotic service to his commonwealth and country and his countless contributions to the human spirit. For myself I can say that Senator Kennedy was the most thoughtful, genuinely considerate human being I have ever known.
KIRK: He suffered from the constant pain of a shattered back, and he bore more hurt and heartache than most humans are ever asked to endure. But at every opportunity he brought hope and joy and optimism to more people than we will ever know. Each of you have your own memories but all of us would agree Ted Kennedy was fun. He loved to laugh and he loved to make us laugh. He loved good music and he loved to sing. Conducting the Boston Pops and the Harvard band, leading the traditional July 4th or Thanksgiving Day sing-along with his friends and family at his home at the Cape, and he loved to tell a good story.
One of his favorites that you no doubt have heard went back to when he was 30 years old and made his first run for the Senate, and he was in a debate with his opponent who questioned his qualifications, and pointed his finger at him and said you never even had a full-time job. And the next morning at one of these plants at 6:00 a.m. he is out there greeting people and this big iron worker comes up and puts out his hand and says Kennedy, I heard what they said about you last night. You never worked a day in your life.
Let me tell you something. You haven't missed a thing. He loved that story. He hosted annual dinners for his aging Harvard football buddies, swapping stories of the glory days. He would laugh with that uproarious and unforgettable laugh and remind us the older we get, the better we were -- painting a seascape, enjoying the affection of his faithful dog, Splash, sailing the MIA (ph) with family and friends. For those of us who were inspired by his unmatchable work ethic, to see him relax and enjoy the love of friends and family was our reward as well.
To know Senator Kennedy well was to understand the quiet depth of the faith that guided him. He espoused the value of politics, but he practiced the politics of gospel values. He didn't preach about faith, but he was tireless in the practice of these tenants. The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose. I'll always be hopeful and make the most of every moment, persevere and be strong no matter the adversity, be the best you can be at what you choose to do, and serve your neighbors with joy and love and make a positive difference in their lives.
During these last several months, Senator Kennedy was gratified, as we all were, to have seen the outpouring of thanks for a lifetime of inspirational service and of love for him as a human being. He earned an honorary degree of Harvard, the knighthood from the government of Great Britain, the John F. Kennedy Profile and Courage Award, an outpouring of contributions to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the list goes on. These honors are contemporary acknowledgments of what American history will ultimately record.
KIRK: That no individual legislator from any state of either House of Congress of any political party worked harder or longer with greater adherence to principle or with more political courage for economic and social justice and for world peace than our own Edward M. Kennedy.
KIRK: He was the best at what he chose to do, and he left his indelible mark as the most accomplished and effective legislator in the history of this democracy. He believed and often said that America is a promise, a promise of our founding fathers passed on to each succeeding generation to fulfill. He chose politics as the means to fulfill his promise, reminding us that to whom much is given, much is expected.
Gene Scheer gives voice to the life of selfless and patriotic service of our friend in these words of his hymn "American Anthem". All we've been given by those who came before the dream of a nation whose freedom would endure. The work and prayers of century have brought us to this day. What shall be our legacy? What will our children say? Let them say of me I was one who believed in sharing the blessings I received. Let me know in my heart when my days are through. America, America, I gave my best to you. Be at peace, my friend. America will be in your debt forever.
KIRK: I knew you would agree with me. Please join me in welcoming Senator Kennedy's nephew, the oldest son of Senator Robert Kennedy and Ethyl Kennedy, former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy.
JOSEPH P. KENNEDY II, SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY'S NEPHEW: You know, ladies and gentlemen, one of the ways that I think Senator Kennedy's life can be measured is the kind of people that he was able to surround himself with. Everyone who has been a part of this library knows that Teddy had one friend who stuck with him from the first day he ran until his last day in office and that was a fellow who he selected to give that last talk. Let's just give Paul Kirk a big round of applause for the wonderful job that he does.
JOSEPH P. KENNEDY: Thank you, Paul.
You know, I just wanted to take a brief moment to thank each and every one of you for being here this evening. I wanted to thank you because every person in this audience was touched by Ted Kennedy in one way or another. All of you know the kind of person he was, what he stood for and how he looked out after one very, very large family. But he could only do that -- he could only do that because of the kindness and generosity of his own family, and to Vicki, who in these last few days has shown a kind of grace and dignity and love and character that is simply beyond belief. And Vicki, I don't know where you are, but -- where is she -- just...
JOSEPH P. KENNEDY: Thank you very much -- and to Teddy and Kiki who I love so much and their whole family, little Teddy and Kylie, Kara with Max and Grace and my good friend Patrick who does such a terrific job following his father's footsteps. Patrick, thank you.
JOSEPH P. KENNEDY: And to Curran and Caroline who have welcomed us as we have welcomed them. We just so appreciate the kindness and the love. You know, it's very difficult to share a father with as big a family as the Kennedys are. You know we -- every single one of my brothers and sisters needed a father and we gained one through Uncle Teddy. Caroline and John were no different. The Smiths lost their father.
The truth of the matter is that for so many of us we just needed someone to hang on to. And Teddy was always there to hang on to. He had such a big heart and he shared that heart with all of us. But Teddy and Patrick and Kara, we want to let you know that we understand how much you gave to allow us to be cared for. And you had to share. You had to share.
JOSEPH P. KENNEDY: So we just want to say thank you. We just want to say thank you to Teddy's entire family. You know, every time I come to this library, I love to see the remembrances of my father and uncle, President Kennedy, and now we'll be able to come here and remember Teddy, but of all the exhibits and the different aspects at this library, the one that I most appreciate is one that we can't see right at the moment, but is right around the corner, and it is the one thing outside of this building and that is the Victura, which most of you know as a boat that President Kennedy owned.
From my point of view that was Teddy's boat and if you ever knew how many races -- because my father went out and bought me a boat -- well, bought my mother a boat that I kind of tried to grab, but nevertheless, that I was then supposed to go out and race against Teddy. Every single weekend on Saturday and Sunday I would see the butt end of that boat going over the horizon, and I would be -- you know, Teddy always came in first, second, or third.
I like to think that I came in first, second or third. The difference was I was third from the last, second from the last, or just dead last. You know, the truth is that I just wanted to share with you a little story that I thought just to me captured who Teddy is, so the reason that boat is out here in front of this library was the one time that I ever beat Teddy we were on this racecourse in Hyannis Port, and one of the crew says hey I actually think we're overtaking your uncle.
I thought, oh, my God, I can't believe it. So we got up next to him, and of course the reason why we were catching him was because he was up to his belly button in water because the seams of the boat had opened up and the boat was sinking. So we kindly passed Teddy, my one victory, and after the race he came up to me and he said, listen, you don't have a boat. I don't have a boat. Maybe what we should do is get together and we'll buy a boat together and then on one weekend -- one day of the weekend I'll crew for you, which was going to be interesting, and on the other day of the weekend you crew for me.
And the same was true for little Teddy and Patrick, so that was it -- me, Teddy, little Teddy, and Patrick. So off we go and the boat starts -- we start to race this boat, you know, nonstop, and then we get to the biggest race of the year, and there's like, 40 boats, and we get up that morning, and it is a full blown gale. I mean so there is -- it is blowing like stink and we get up there, and they -- first they call the race off, and then all the skippers get together, and they say, OK well, we'll put the race back on.
Now, the race starts so that we're going down wind which means those big colorful sails called a spinnaker are out in front. We start the race and it's about five miles to the first Mark. I thought something was a little strange when the only boat in the entire fleet that set a spinnaker was ours. And I thought maybe they know something that we don't and well anyway we came to find it out. So we start down towards the first mark and we are now ahead because we had this whole other sail, so we have this huge advantage, and we are ahead by a country mile.
And I am so happy. I am the happiest guy in the history of sailboat racing. What I haven't bothered to tell big Teddy, little Teddy or Patrick is that I can't steer the boat at all because that boat is going wherever the wind is going to take it. And I look out about 500 yards, and there is this, like, 15-foot high bell buoy, and we are headed right for it. And then it's 200 yards, and then it's 100 yards, and Teddy looks around at me and goes hey, don't you think we should turn a little bit?
I go, I'm trying. We hit that buoy -- I mean I thought we were all headed to Davy Jones' locker right there and then they have this kind of screwy rule in sailboat racing where if you hit the buoy, you can go back and surround it three times. If you get around it three times without hitting it again, you can keep it -- going in the race. So now we have to sail back to the buoy with 40 boats coming at us that are none too pleased with us. There's a little bit of screaming.
None going on our boat, of course, and we somehow make it through this (INAUDIBLE) we get around the mark three times, and then we're going to the second mark, and I feel like the biggest heel in the history of the world. I mean there is no way -- sorry, pal -- but there was no way that I could blame this on anybody but myself. So I feel so terrible, and big Teddy is up on the windward rail, and he is getting soaked, and it's not very pleasant right then.
And you know, he turned around to me, and he said, hey, Joe, if last night before we were going to bed I told you we were going to round the first mark in seventh or eighth place, how would you have felt? I went, oh, I guess I would have felt pretty good. And he said let's go win this race. And over the course of the next three hours one after another we picked off those boats, and we won the race.
Now, I don't tell you that because I think winning that particular race was important, although I think Teddy would tell you it was important, because Teddy liked to win, but Teddy had this wonderful way about him where he could just sense in anyone when they needed a hand. He could just sense and I can't tell you how many times in my life -- and I'm sure as I look around and I see the people in this room who knew him so well that every one of you doesn't have a story or two or three or five or 10 of how Teddy came and gave you a helping hand when you were down.
He was always there and that's what it was. It was -- he was telling me never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up. You stay in the race. And if people don't have health insurance, you stay in the race. If people don't have adequate health care, adequate housing, you stay in the race. If people aren't being treated properly, you stay in the race.
And I saw that man make phone calls to every single family from this state that died on 9/11. I saw him make the phone calls to every single family in this state that lost a son or a daughter in the Iraq War, first or second or in Afghanistan. This was a man who cared so deeply about those on the outside of political and economic power, people who struggle, struggle each and every day to just get by.
He lived his whole life fighting for those people and that's why I think when you hear all these tributes and you see Senator McCain and Orrin Hatch and others here today from the other side of the aisle, they're here because they knew what kind of individual Teddy was. They loved his laugh. They loved to spend time, but at its core, they loved to be with an individual who stood for something, and so, ladies and gentlemen, I am here today because I loved my uncle so very much, so very much. He did so much for me and my brothers and sisters and my mother when we needed a hand, and I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, there are thousands of others who lost a father or a mother or a sister or a brother or someone else in this life that turned to Ted Kennedy. We've lost such a human being, but, you know, ladies and gentlemen, he is going to want us to continue. He's going to want us to live as he lived. He came back after so much tragedy because of that heart, because of that drive and that determination, so I ask each one of you to rededicate yourself to the same goals and ideals that Senator Ted Kennedy lived his life for, because he lived to make this world a better place. And our country and this world is a better place because of the life of Ted Kennedy. Thank you.
KIRK: You get a chance to cheer again when we welcome Senator Kennedy's very good friend from the neighboring state of Connecticut who served his state and country with honor and dignity and would glad he's back from his procedure, I'll call it. Welcome, everybody's good friend, Senator Chris Dodd.
SEN CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, good evening, all. Vicki, let me begin by thanking you for the remarkable invitation to be here this evening and to stand at this podium and get a chance to express my feelings and my emotions about my dearest of friends, Ted Kennedy.
Tonight, of course, we gather to celebrate the incredible American story of a man who made so many other American stories possible, my friend Teddy. And Unlike his beloved brothers, sister Kathleen, his nephews, Teddy was granted the gift of time. He lived in the Irish poet suggested, as he suggested, not just to comb gray hair, but white hair.
And if you look at what he achieved in his 77 years, it seems at times as if he lid for centuries. Generations of historians will, of course, chronicle his prolific efforts on behalf of so many others around the world. I will leave that to them. Tonight I just want to share a few thoughts about my friend. And what a friend he has been, a friend of unbridled sympathy and empathy, of optimism, and of full- throated joy.
Examples, of course, of that friendship are legend. I remember many years ago a close friend of mine passed away. Teddy didn't know him at all. I was asked to say a few words at that funeral. As long as I live, I'll never forget that as I stood at that pulpit and looked out over that gathering that day, there was Teddy sitting in the back of that church. He obviously wasn't there for my friend. He was there for me at my time of loss. That was what it was like to have Teddy in your corner.
When our daughter's, Grace and Christina were born, the very first call I received was from my friend Teddy. When I lost the Iowa caucuses last year, not that anyone ever thought I was going to win them, the first call I received was from Teddy and Vicki. When my sister passed away last month, the first call I received was from Teddy, even though he was well into the final summer of his own life.
And two weeks ago, as I was coming out of surgery, I got a call from Teddy, his unique voice as loud and booming as ever. "Well," he roared, "between going through a prostate cancer surgery and doing town hall meetings, you made a great choice," he said.
And though -- and though he was dying, of course, and I was hurting, believe me, he had me howling with laughter in the recovery room as he made a few choice comments I cannot repeat this evening about catheters.
As we all know, of course, Teddy had a ferocious sense of humor. In 1994 he was in the political fight of his life against Mitt Romney. Before the first debate, held in Boston's, of course, historic Faneuil Hall, I was with Teddy and Vicki that evening and his team and along with everyone else we were offering our advice before the debate began.
"Teddy," I cautioned, "we Irish always talk too fast. Even if you know the answer to a question, you have to pause, slow down, and at the very least appear to be thoughtful."
Well, out he went, and, of course, the very first question was something like this: Senator, you have served the commonwealth of Massachusetts for nearly 35 years in the United States Senate. Explain, then, why this race is so close. Teddy paused. And paused. And paused. Five seconds. Ten seconds. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he answered the question. After the debate I said, "Good lord, Teddy, I didn't mean pause that long after the first question. What in the world were you thinking of." He looked and said, "I was thinking that's a damn good question. Why is this race so close?"
Well, in these last months of his life I have just so treasured our conversations. At 6:30 a.m., in the morning of July 16th, only a few weeks ago, the morning after his Senate health care committee finished five weeks of exhausting work on a bill that he had written, by the way, and that I believe will be one of the greatest of his many legacies, my phone range in the morning. There was Teddy beyond ecstatic that we had finished our work and that his committee had been the first to report a bill. Always the competitor, of course. Teddy was never maudlin during these last number of months or self-pitying about health and his ill, his condition, but he was always fully aware about this happening to him. Every Irishman's dream, of course, is to attend our own eulogies. That's why we call the obituary page the Irish sports page, for those of you not familiar.
And I know he enjoyed a uniquely Celtic kick out of hearing people who abhorred his politics say incredibly nice things about him along the way. Volumes, of course, will be published by those attempting to unlock the mystery of why Teddy was such an effective legislator over the years. Was it his knowledge of parliamentary procedure? Was it his political instincts, his passionate oratory, his staff? What was it?
Please, let me save the pundits and the political scientists some time and all of you some money and tell you what Teddy's secret was. People liked him.
Now, he always had a great staff.
He always had a great staff and great ideas, but that only counts for so much in the United States Senate, if you lack the respect and admiration of your colleagues, and Teddy earned that respect.
You'll recall he arrived in Washington as the 30-year-old brother of a sitting United States president and the attorney general of the United States. Many people drew their conclusions about him before he spoke his first words in the United States Senate, and over the years, of course, he became a target of partisans who caricatured him as a dangerous liberal.
Now, liberal he was, and very, very proud of it, I might add, but once you got to know him, as his colleagues did in the Senate, you quickly learned Teddy was no caricature. He was a warm, passionate, thoughtful, tremendously funny man who loved his country deeply and loved the United States Senate. If you ever needed to find Teddy in the Senate chamber, all you had to do was to listen for that distinctive thunder clap of a laugh echoing across the hallowed halls as he charmed his colleagues.
He served in the Senate, as all of you know, for almost half a century alongside liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, and he then befriended, as I said, all of those with equal gusto.
It's, of course, great to see his friends, Senator Orrin Hatch and John McCain, here this evening. It is to their, of course, credit that they so often supported Teddy's efforts. And I say in some jest it is to Teddy's great credit that he rarely supported theirs, on the efforts.
But, Teddy's personal friendships with Orrin and John and so many others over this half century weren't simply the polite working relationships that make possible a politics in our country. They're the very real and lasting bonds that make the United States Senate of our nation work. That's what made Teddy one of our greatest senators ever.
Some people born with a famous name live off it, others enrich theirs. Teddy enriched his. As we begin the task of summing up all that he has done for our nation and so many others around the world, perhaps we can begin by acknowledging this: John Fitzgerald Kennedy inspired our America, Robert Kennedy challenged our America, and our Teddy changed America.
Nearly every -- nearly every -- nearly every important law passed in the last half century bears his mark, and a great deal of them, of course, bear his name. Teddy was defined by his love of our country, the passion for public service, his abiding faith, and, of course, as Joe has said, his family. His much adored Vicki, his children, Kara, Teddy, Patrick, Caroline and Curran, his grandchildren, nieces and nephews. All of you need to know when you weren't around and I was, how often he talked about you and how much pleasure and joy, the unbounded joy and pleasure, that you brought to him.
Teddy, of course, was a man who lived for others, as Joe has pointed out, he was a champion for countless people who otherwise might not have had one, and he never quit on them. Never gave up on the belief that we could make tomorrow a better day. Never once.
Last August, in Denver, one year to the day, before his passing, Teddy spoke at our national convention. His gate, of course, was shaky, but his blue eyes were clear, and his unmistakable voice rang with strength. As he passed the torch to another young president, Teddy said the work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on.
He spoke of the great fight of his life insuring that every American, regardless of their economic status, be granted the right to decent health care in our country. We're also deeply saddened that he did not live to see that battle won. But, in a few short days from now we will return to our work in Teddy's Senate, the blistering days of August will be replaced, I pray, by the cooler days of September, and we will prevail in the way that Teddy won so many victories in our nation, by listening to each other, by respecting each other, and the seriousness of the institution to which we belong and where Teddy earned an immortal place in American history.
And as he so eloquently eulogized his brother, Bobby, 40 years ago, Teddy doesn't need to be enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. We'll remember him for the largeness of his spirit, the depth of his compassion, his persistence in the face of adversity, and the breadth of his achievements.
We'll remember him as a man who understood better than most that America is a place of incredible opportunity, of incredible hope, and a place of redemption. He labored tirelessly to make those dreams a reality for everyone.
Those dreams, the ones he spoke of throughout his life, live on like the eternal flame that marks President Kennedy's grave. That very flame that Teddy and Bobby lived 46 years ago, and in all the years that I have known and loved this man, that eternal flame has never failed, but to burn brightly in Teddy's eyes, and now as he joins his brothers on that hillside in Arlington, may the light from that flame continue to illuminate our path forward and with the work of our own hand and the help of almighty God, inspired by Teddy's example, may we lift up this nation of ours that my friend Teddy loved so much. And I thank you.
KIRK: When Senator Dodd said Senator Kennedy had good staff, an alumnus of his staff who worked tirelessly on the health issue while he was there and is now a distinguished attorney in the city of Boston, is Nick Littlefield, and in just a moment you'll learn more about Nick's other talents, but welcome him now, Nick, to the podium.
NICK LITTLEFIELD, ATTORNEY: So, you know, I think that for the senator one of my most important attributes as staff director for the Labor and Human Resources Committee was that I could sing. And you all know that he loved to sing, of course, and Vicki and he and family members and pianists that they invited in always participated in these magnificent sing-alongs, and I got to sing with the senator in is many different places over so many years, I think of Washington, and Boston and the Senate and the Cape and Maine and always on the Mia, we sang. Those were magnificent times.
You know, he even had me sing to Senator Hatch as they were wrapping up the deal on children's health. That was the senator at his best. I learned that Senator Kennedy liked the songs that he knew best, so we sang "On the Street Where You Live" dozens of times and "Sweet Adeline" was a close second.
And when we sang to a crowd, both of us, if I got too loud, he'd give me that look, and I'd know I was in trouble. Tonight I'm going to sing one of his -- one of the songs he especially loved in which we always sang every single evening when we got together to sing, and we sang this song even the last time I saw him, and I think he loved this song. I know he loved this song, because it said so much about him and Vicki.
If I could have an "E."
(SINGING): Love, love changes everything, hands and faces, earth and sky. Love, love changes everything, how you live and how you die. Love can make the summer fly or a night seem like a lifetime. Yes, love, love changes everything. How I tremble at her name. Nothing in the world will ever be the same.
Love, love changes everything. Days are longer, words mean more. Love, love changes everything, pain is deeper than before. Love can turn your world around and that world will last forever. Yes, love, love changes everything, brings you glory, brings you shame. Nothing in the world will ever be the same.
Off into the world we go, planning futures, shaping years. Love comes in and suddenly all our wisdom disappears. Love makes fools of everyone. All the rules we make are broken. Yes, love, love changes everything, live or perish in its flame. Nothing in the world will ever be the same.
KIRK: Don't go away, Nick. We're going to get you back before too long. What a gift.
Our next speaker is the chief executive officer of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please join me in welcoming Governor Deval Patrick.
GOV DEVAL PATRICK, MASSACHUSETTS: Good evening family and friends. Like a lot of people, some of you have, I suspect, I knew Ted Kennedy before I ever met him. I knew him from the grainy black and white TV images of Camelot when my mother used to say, to no one in particular, "I love me some Kennedy."
(LAUGHTER) I knew him from the moving speeches, the eulogy of his brother Robert, of the Democratic convention speech of 1980. I got occasional sightings of him as I got older, like when he entered my high school graduation with the rest of his family when his niece and my classmate, Courtney, was graduating, or at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings when important civil rights laws were under review and I was working as a young staff lawyer at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
But the first time I actually met him was in 1993 when I was a finalist for the United States attorney position in Boston. All three finalists were invited to Washington for a final interview with the senator. And I was nervous. He was already long an icon by then, a legend of progressive politics. We met in his famous capitol hideaway, just the two of us.
And before I got going good, I said to him that whatever the outcome of the selection process, I wanted him to know that I knew that my path from the South side of Chicago to that interview was paved in large measure by his life's work, and that I was grateful for that.
Now, I have to say that in addition to being true and heartfelt, it was not at bad interview opener, but I still didn't get the job. And though he made a great choice, he felt awkward about letting me down. I know that because the next time I met him unexpectedly at a party on Nantucket the following summer, he blanched at first when he saw me and said sent Vicki across the lawn just to make sure the coast was clear before he came over to say hello.
For our time, he was a master of the Senate. When President Clinton sent my name to the Senate for a senior post in the Justice Department, Ted took charge of the confirmation process in the way only a master could. The morning after the nomination was announced, he had me up to the capitol and he positioned me in the vice president's ceremonial office just off the Senate floor. There was an early morning vote, and as senators came off the floor, he steered colleagues, one by one, into that office so that they could shake my hand. His theory was it's hard to demagogue someone you've actually looked in the eye and met.
I met probably 60 senators coming off the floor after that vote, including most of the members of the Judiciary Committee. And we had more of a few laughs later about my first impressions of his colleagues, and his more studied ones. For example, the importance of just smiling and nodding when speaking with Senator Howell Heflin of Alabama, even though it was often sometimes, or at least sometimes, impossible to understand just what he was saying. Or how now to worry about follow-up questions during the confirmation hearings from Senator Storm Thurmond because he couldn't hear your answer to the first questions that he had asked you.
His observations were never harsh or sarcastic. He was never mean. He was a master of the Senate, not just because he knew his colleague's foibles, but because he so clearly respected their humanity. He knew their politics, yes, but he also knew them. Of course, he was a ham. He loved to sing, as Nick was just saying. Two summers ago, Ted and Vicki came out to Tanglewood for a Boston Pops concert of Broadway show tunes. The concert featured the famed Broadway ingenue Marin Mazzie and Tony Award winning baritone Brian Stokes Mitchell, whom we'll hear from tonight.
Now, this is significant because Stokes is what Ted thought he sounded like when he sang.
Diane and I invited Ted and Vicki for dinner at our house after the concert, and about a week before, Ted called to say he was bringing Pops conductor Keith Lockhart and his then fiancee, as well. Great.
A few days later he called again to say that he was inviting Marin and Stokes to dinner, as well. Delighted. But, Vicki was horrified. She kept apologizing for Teddy inviting all of these add- ons, as she said, right up until we all sat down to dinner. When another total stranger walked into the house. Vicki and I looked at each other, assuming we had to set another unexpected place at the table. Instead, our mystery guest started to set up a keyboard because Teddy had also invited the pianist from the Boston Pops so we could have proper accompaniment after dinner. And we sang every show tune we knew until the wee hours of the morning.
And that was the thing about Ted. He was in the same instant, larger than life and completely down to earth. His record of achievement and contribution is unrivalled in the United States Senate. His humanity, his compassion, his kindness in some ways had just as great an impact.
A friend of mine told me recently the story of Ted's plans to attend the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin, the late prime minister of Israel. The day before he left for Jerusalem, he called the White House and asked if it would be appropriate to bring some soil from Arlington Cemetery. No one knew the answer. So that day, he went to the graves of his two brothers and scooped up some soil, and he carried that precious commodity in a shopping bag to the funeral of Rabin. And after the ceremonies, after the crowd had dispersed, away from the cameras and the press, he carefully, respectfully, lovingly spread that soil on Rabin's grave. No publicity, just a good man doing a sweet thing.
Everyone in this room has some quiet, private example of his or her own. And what's even more powerful is to think how many thousands more, many of them lining the motorcade yesterday, or filing in through the doors of this library over the course of the last two days to pay their respects, or signing condolences messages around the world, who have private, quiet examples of their own. No politician ever made me feel more that public life could be a noble calling, or better about who I was and where I came from. He loved the commonwealth and this country. He loved the American people, but he also believed that we could be better. And it was that vision of a better America that he went to work for every day. And millions of veterans and working people and women and people with disabilities and racial and ethnic minorities, millions of pragmatic idealists who want to believe that they can make the world better through public service are in his debt.
So, many I have heard for the last couple of days are asking how best to honor his legacy. I say we should live it. His legacy is to me about what we do in our own lives and communities to keep the dream alive, to make a great country even better.
It won't be easy, especially with the profound sadness we feel today that our standard bearer has been taken from us. But it never was, even for our dear lost friend. Ted Kennedy sailed more often than not into the political wind, in search of that better America. And he did it with skill and a grace so typical of him and his family. Let us honor his life and accomplishments by making his work our own.
God bless you, Vicki, and all the family. Thank you.
KIRK: Thank you, Governor.
The last time our next speaker was on the stage, he received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the distinguished American, the distinguished United States senator from the state of Arizona.
Please welcome John McCain.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you, Paul.
As Paul mentioned. I was last in this wonderful library, it was 10 years ago, when Russ Feingold and I were honored to receive the Profile in Courage Award. Ted was very gracious to family on that occasion.
It was my son Jimmy's 11th birthday and Ted went out of his way to make sure it was celebrated enthusiastically. He arranged a ride for us on a Coast Guard cutter, two birthday cakes, and led a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday," with that booming baritone of his drowning out all other voices, as it often did on the Senate floor.
MCCAIN: He was good company, my friend Ted.
He had the Irish talent for storytelling and for friendship. At the lunch he hosted for us in the family quarters on the top floor of the library, he recalled an earlier episode in our friendship, a story he delighted in retelling.
It occurred on the Senate floor, when two freshman senators, one a Democrat, and the other a Republican, neither of whom would remain long in the Senate, were getting a little personal with each other as they debated an issue, which must have seemed important at the time, but which neither Ted nor I were paying much attention to.
We both happened to be on the floor at the same time. And the heat of our colleagues' exchange eventually managed to get our attention. You might think -- you might just think that two more senior members of the Senate would in such a situation counsel two junior members to observe the courtesies and comity which theoretically are supposed to distinguish our debates.
But Ted and I shared the sentiment that a fight not joined was a fight not enjoyed.
MCCAIN: And, irresistibly, we were both drawn into a debate we had no particular interest in, but which suddenly looked like fun.
MCCAIN: I struck first, castigating the young Democratic senator for abusing my Republican colleague.
Before she could respond for herself, Ted rode valiantly to her rescue. And, within minutes, he and I had forgotten why we were there and what the debate was all about.
MCCAIN: We had probably even forgotten the names of our two colleagues.
MCCAIN: As one of us spoke, the other would circle the floor agitated and anxious to fire back.
After a while, we must have thought the distance between our desks too great for either of us to hear each other clearly or that the pressure of the clerk transcribing our exchange had become too distracting.
And, as if we both had heard some secret signal, we put down our microphones simultaneously and walked briskly to the well of the floor, where we could continue in closer quarters and in language perhaps too familiar to be recorded for posterity, which regrettably was still audible enough to be overheard by a few reporters, who are now leaning over the railing of the press gallery trying to ascertain just what the hell was going on between McCain and Kennedy.
After we both were satisfied and had sufficiently impressed upon each other the particulars of proper senatorial comportment, we ended our discussion and returned to the business that had brought us to the chamber in the first place.
And I'm happy to report we succeeded in discouraging our colleagues from continuing their intemperate argument. They both had deserted the chamber with, I was later told, for I didn't notice their escape, rather puzzled if not frightened looks on their faces.
MCCAIN: When I next sought Ted ambling down a Senate corridor, he was bellowing laughter, that infectious laugh of his that could wake the dead and cheer up the most beleaguered soul.
He was good company, excellent company. I think I'm going to miss him more than I can say. We disagreed on most issues, but I admitted -- but I admired his passion for his convictions, his patience with the hard and sometimes dull work of legislating, and his uncanny sense for when differences could be bridged and his cause advanced by degrees.
He was a fierce advocate, and no senator would oppose him in a debate without at least a little trepidation, often more than a little. We all listened to him, of course. He was hard to ignore. When we agreed on an issue and worked together to make a little progress for the country on an important issue, he was the best ally you could have.
You never had even a small doubt that once his word was given and a course of action decided, he would honor the letter and the spirit of the agreement. When we worked together on the immigration issue, we had a daily morning meeting with other interested senators.
He and I would meet for a few minutes in advance and decide between us which members of our respective caucuses needed a little special encouragement or, on occasion, a little straight talk.
If a member tried to back out of a previous commitment, Ted made certain they understood the consequences of their action. It didn't matter to him that the offender was a member of his own caucus. He was the most reliable, the most prepared, and the most persistent member of the Senate.
He took the long view. He never gave up. And though, on most issues, I very much wished he would give up, he taught me to be a better senator.
After Labor Day, I will go back to the Senate, and I will try to be as persistent as Ted was and as passionate for the work. I know I'm privileged to serve there. But I think most of my colleagues would agree, the place won't be the same without him.
KIRK: Next, you will have the joy and the privilege of viewing a video tribute to Senator Kennedy directed by Ken Burns and Mark Herzog. You have heard other people speaking tonight. Tonight, you will hear about the life of Ted Kennedy in his own words. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The sea for me has always been a metaphor of life. I mean, the sea is a constantly evolving, changing, shifting, aspect of both nature and of life. That sort of exposure to the sea is both enriching and enhancing and it's fun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sea, the wind, the outdoors, it is the most renewing, healing place for him and always has been.
KENNEDY: That's a good job. Yes. Sweat it a little bit.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: He loves getting out and sailing. I think he's never more at peace and perhaps in some ways never more in touch with his family and his roots and his brothers than when he's out there sailing.
KENNEDY: I grew up in a family that wanted to achieve in the sense of making a difference in people's lives.
KERRY: I know that Ted Kennedy has always been unbelievably sensitive to the accomplishments of his brothers. They were his inspiration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a legacy. He's done his very best to pick up where his two brothers left off.
KENNEDY: Like my three brothers before me, I pick up a fallen standard. Sustained by their memory of our priceless years together, I shall try to carry forward that special commitment to justice, to excellence, to courage that distinguished their lives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He championed the cause of those who have been left out, the poor, the elderly, our children, those without education.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was brought up to believe that, you know, to those to whom much is given, much is required. But it's really bigger than that. He really feels a moral obligation to do everything possible to make this world a better place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have heard Senator Kennedy say on many occasion that health care is not a privilege. It is a right.
KENNEDY: As long as I have a voice in the United States Senate, it's going to be for that Democratic platform plank that provides that provides decent quality of health care, north and south, east and west, for all Americans, as a matter of right, and not a privilege.
KERRY: Because of Ted Kennedy, people have things today, they're able to do things today, they're able to reach for the American dream in ways that they never imagined.
LAUREN STANFORD, FRIEND OF TED KENNEDY: I first met the senator at something called Children's Congress through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. And he asked me to come to testify in front of Congress about stem cell research and the support for that. If I could help someone almost as much as Senator Kennedy's helped me, then I would be a very happy person.
KENNEDY: City Year has given the opportunity for the best of our young people to serve in the community.
KERRY: He deeply believes that national service ought to be part of the every day life of every single American.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He committed right away to introduce new legislation to take programs like City Year to scale to make it possible for young people all over our country to serve our country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He deeply believes in service. Even as a United States senator, he's read every Tuesday at a local school in Washington, D.C., as part of an Everybody Wins! program.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were signed up for this reading program, and I was assigned to read with Senator Kennedy as my reading partner. It gave me someone to want to do well for and make proud. I'm going to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. And I will be majoring in education.
KERRY: We're talking about a man of incredible sensitivity. He has always been there for the troops. He's always been there understanding the sacrifices that those troops made. He's been there for their families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We met Senator Kennedy for the first time in November 2003 when we buried our son John (ph) at Arlington National Cemetery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their son was lost because his Humvee was not up-armored. And they have really dedicated their lives to making sure that other men and women don't suffer the same fate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John died just after his 20th birthday. Senator Kennedy agreed to call hearings. Within six months of those hearings, all troops in Iraq had body armor. And, to that, I owe the senator.
KENNEDY: Brian and his wife, Alma, turned that enormous personal tragedy into a remarkable force for change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Kennedy was -- had been (INAUDIBLE) to our family before I was born. He remembers where his mother was, where his father was when they came to tell him his brother Joseph was killed. We share a wound that doesn't heal and a deep and abiding love for this country. And Senator Kennedy taught me that government can function for the common man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His patriotism, his family, his faith, really, those three things are just intrinsic to who he is. And I think of him as this guy who's got really, really big shoulders. And he's strong for all of us. And he's funny. And he sort of leads the way. He's the pied piper in our family.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: How many sails are up?
KENNEDY: Well, let's count them. What do we call the one that's way, way, way up at the tippy top?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Oh, that? The (INAUDIBLE) isn't it? Oh, no, no, the fisherman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't tell me you want to put the fisherman on the other side now, dad.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The year I was born, President Kennedy let out word that the torch had been passed to a new generation of Americans. He was right. It had. It was passed to his youngest brother. From the battles of the 1960s to the battles of today, he has carried that torch, lighting the way for all who share his American ideals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see the day when President Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy would be moving progressive legislation through the Congress to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
KENNEDY: We will break the old gridlock and finally make health care what it should be in America, a fundamental right for all, not just an expensive privilege for the few.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KENNEDY: The people in this country are going to respond to the hopeful in a positive way. It's going to be a very, very dramatic and important alteration and change. And it's one that I'm looking forward to being part of.
We're all set now!
KIRK: What a treat.
I now have the privilege of welcoming a friend and colleague of Senator Kennedy's and now senior senator of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, John Kerry.
KERRY: Vicki and Teddy, Kiki, Kara, Patrick, Curran, Caroline, thank you for the privilege of sharing some words here today about my friend and my colleague of a quarter-of-a-century. From the moment of fateful diagnosis 14 months ago until he left us, we saw grace and courage, dignity and humility, joy and laughter and so much love and gratitude lived out on a daily basis that our cup does run over.
How devastating the prognosis was as Ted left MGH with his family waving to all June a year ago. And that he lived the next 14 months in the way that he did, optimistic, full of hope, striving and accomplishing still, that he did that is in part a miracle, yes, but it's equally a triumph of the love and the care that Vicki and their children and all who cherished him gave him in such abundance.
In many ways, I think it's fair to say that, this time, these last months were a gift to all of us. The last months of his life were in many ways the sweetest of seasons, because he saw how much we love him, how much we respect him, and how unbelievably grateful we are for his stunning years of service and friendship.
And what a year he had, my friends. He accomplished more in that span of time than many senators do in a lifetime, mental health parity, the Tobacco Act, a health care bill out of his committee. He spoke at the Democratic Convention. He wrote his memoirs. And he was there for the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Service America Act, and received the Medal of Freedom from the president and a knighthood from the queen of England.
I think many of you who were there would agree with me that perhaps one of the most poignant moments of all was when he was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard. His staff through the years was gathered in the front. And friends and family and admirers were scattered throughout the audience and filled the room. And vice president-elect Biden was there.
And you have no idea how hard Ted practiced and worked to be able to do that and the convention and his appearance at the White House to make a speech that lived up to his high standards. He took the stage at Harvard and, for a few moments, we all worried that it would be difficult to pull off.
And then, before you know it, his voice began to soar and the pace picked up and he inspired again with a stunning restatement of his purpose in public life. When it was over, the applause never wanted to end. He stayed on the stage, reaching out to us and we to him. And we wanted him to stay there forever.
I first met Ted Kennedy when I was 18 years old as a volunteer for his first Senate campaign in the summer before I went to college. Then I met him again when I returned from Vietnam and we veterans encamped on the Mall in Washington.
It was Ted Kennedy who had the courage to come down to the Mall one night and in a tent listen to us talk about Vietnam. We were controversial, but Ted broke the barriers. And other senators followed.
He worked his heart out for me in the presidential race of 2004. And he made the difference in Iowa. When we were down in the polls and I was slugging it out there, Ted brought his humor, his energy, and his eloquence to Davenport to help melt the snows of that state.
There we were just two weeks before the caucuses, and his voice boomed out in this room: "You voted for my brother. You voted for my other brother. You didn't vote for me."
KERRY: And as the crowd roared with laughter, Ted bellowed, "But we're back here for John Kerry, and, if you vote for John Kerry, I will forgive you."
KERRY: "You can have three out of four," he said, "and I will love you and I will love Iowa."
And let me tell you, Iowa loved him. We had a lot of fun there. He would open an event, and he would come out and he would say: "I want to talk to you about a bold, handsome, intelligent leader, a man who should not only be president, but who should end up on Mount Rushmore, but enough about me."
KERRY: "Now I will talk about John Kerry."
After that agonizing Tuesday night in November when we fell so short in one state, there were Ted and Vicki on a Wednesday morning sitting with Teresa and me in the kitchen in Boston as we prepared to concede. He was always there when you needed him.
And so were Sunny and Splash, incidentally, when you didn't.
KERRY: Once, when we were at a Senate retreat, Ted had just spoken, and then Joe Biden got up to make a point and rejoinder. And as Joe got more forceful in his argument, he started to gesture. And he took a step towards Ted.
Boom. Sunny and Splash were up on their feet barking wildly, defending -- and I will get it -- Kennedy territory with a vengeance.
KERRY: And, ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in history, we witnessed a Biden rhetorical retreat.
KERRY: And I have to tell you, one of my really favorite moments was Ted campaigning with my daughter, Vanessa, who is here, campaigning in New Mexico. They were visiting an Indian reservation. And the tribal medicine man wanted to bestow a blessing.
He took a feather and he chanted, and he asked that Ted and Vanessa stand side by side and extend their hands and bow their heads. And with a sacred feather, he touched their feet and he touched their foreheads, and he touched their hands, all the while chanting away.
And, when he finished, Ted leaned over to Vanessa and whispered, "I think we just got married."
KERRY: Well, you can imagine.
And a couple of months later, she got a note from Teddy which said, "No matter what happens, we will always have New Mexico."
KERRY: One of the framed notes in Ted's Senate office was a thank-you from a colleague for a gift, a special edition of Profiles in Courage. This is what it said.
"I brought it home and reread it. What an inspiration. Thank you, my friend, for your many courtesies. If the world only knew." It was signed by Trent Lott, the Republican leader of the Senate.
Indeed, if everyone only knew. When George Wallace was wounded in an assassination attempt, the first to visit him was Ted Kennedy. When Joe Biden underwent brain surgery for an aneurysm, the first to board the train to Wilmington was Ted Kennedy. When Jesse Helms announced that he had to undergo heart surgery, heart valve surgery, Helms told his constituents back in North Carolina, "It's no piece of cake, but it sure beats listening to Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor."
So, Ted wrote a note to Jesse saying, "I would be happy to send you tapes of my recent Senate speeches if that will help your speedy recovery."
KERRY: And just two weeks ago, when I was in the hospital after hip surgery, just like Chris Dodd, there was Ted Kennedy on the phone asking how I was doing, with all that he was dealing with.
In his life, as we all know, Ted knew the dark night of loss. And I think that's why his empathy was global and deeply personal. After my father died of cancer just days before the convention in 2000, there was a knock at the door, completely unexpected, and standing there on the front porch was Ted Kennedy dropping by to hug and talk and just to pass time with us.
For 25 years, I was privileged to work by his side, learning from the master. And, over the years, I have received hundreds of handwritten notes from Ted, some funny, some touching, a few correcting me, all of them special treasures now. He thanked me for my gift of a Catholic study Bible, commenting, "My mother would be very grateful to you for keeping me in line." He thanked me for a particularly challenging charter lift home after 9/11, when it was hard to get anything in the air. And he wrote: "Here's a riddle for you. What do you get when you make three calls to the FAA, two calls to the secretary of transportation, and three calls to Signature Flight Support? You get a great trip to Boston," his way of saying thank you.
And he thanked Teresa and me for the gift of a vintage bottle, concluding, "I just hope that I have aged as well as this wine."
KERRY: The personal touch Ted brought to life extended, we know, well beyond Senate colleagues. It reflected the kind of man that he was and the kind of laws that he wrote.
For 1,000 days in the White House, as Chris Dodd mentioned, President Kennedy inspired. For 80 days on the presidential campaign trail, Robert Kennedy gave us reason to believe in hope again. And for more than 17,000 days as a United States senator, Ted Kennedy changed the course of history as few others have.
Without him, there might still be a military draft. The war in Vietnam might have lasted longer. There might have been delays in granting the Voting Rights Act or in passing Medicare or Medicaid. Soviet Jewish refuseniks might have been ignored, and who would have been there to help them, as Ted did?
Without him, we might not have stood up against apartheid as forcefully as we did, and the barriers to fair immigration might still be higher today. If everyone only knew.
Without Ted, 18-year-olds might not be able to vote. There might not be a Martin Luther King Day, Meals on Wheels, student loans, increases in the minimum wage, equal funding for women's college sports, health insurance, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, workplace safety, AmeriCorps, children's health insurance.
If everyone only knew.
He stood against judges who would turn back the clock on constitutional rights. He stood against the war in Iraq, his proudest vote. And for nearly four decades and all through his final days, he labored with all of his might to make health care a right for all Americans and we will do that in his honor.
In these last months, every visit Ted made to the Senate elicited an unstoppable outpouring of affection. Tears welled up in the eyes of Republicans and Democrats. Everyone missed his skills, his booming call to arms and conscience. On his last visit, Chris Dodd and I sat in the back row beside his desk and listen to Teddy regale us with an imitation of his efforts to practice throwing out a ball for the Red Sox opening game. He laughed and he poked fun at how reluctant his hands and muscles were to obey his commands. I was in awe of this moment of humility and self-deprecating humor in the face of genuine frustration.
And as he often said over the years, we have to take issues seriously, but never take ourselves too seriously. He was a master of that, too, and one of the great lessons that he thought me. In the end, his abiding gift was his incomparable love of life and his commitment to make better the life of the world.
In between his time changing the world, he found time to capture it in marvelous paintings. He was a talented, gifted artist. And as we know, an incurable romantic. Who else would have thought to hide their engagement ring on a coral reef in St. Croix as they were swimming and diving so Vicki could find it. It never occurred to him that the waters might wash the ring away. But one thing is certain, their love endured from then until now and it will endure forever.
Massachusetts has always had its own glorious love affair with the sea. Like his brothers before him, saltwater was in his veins. Teddy lived by the sea and he lived joyously on it.
The evening he passed away, I looked out at the ocean where gray sky met gray water. No horizon, the sky almost seemed to be in mourning. It was not a time for sailing. But the next afternoon as I sat at his home, I looked out at a perfect Nantucket sound and I thought to myself with certainty he's on a schooner now. He's sailing. Jack, Joe, Bobby on the foredeck, Rosemary, Eunice, Kathleen, Pat, trading stories with their parents, and Teddy at the helm steering his steady course. Sail on, my friend. Sail on.
KIRK: The next speaker is one who has seen Senator Kennedy's name and then the name of his colleagues. Another great American who sat across the aisle and served our country well in the United States Senate. Please welcome Senator Orrin Hatch.
SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: This is a tremendous honor to be in this wonderful city and this state where our revolution was begun. I'm just so grateful to be here.
Vicki, Teddy, Patrick, Kara, Ethel and Jane, and all the rest of the Kennedy family, it's a great honor for me to here with you today, to talk about a man I have so much regard for. So much reverence for, with whom I've done battle for 33 years and have enjoyed every minute of it, like two fighting brothers, to be honest with you.
And a lot of things I could say about Ted Kennedy's career, but what I'd like to do is just take a few minutes to talk about Ted Kennedy, the man, and Ted Kennedy, my friend.
By the time I came to the Senate in 1977, Teddy was already a giant among senators. As a Republican coming from Utah, I stated numerous times on the campaign trail that I plan to come to Washington to fight Ted Kennedy. In fact, I used to say that Kennedy's name was my very best fundraiser in the country.
When I came to Washington, I hadn't the slightest idea that I would eventually have a strong working relationship with and love for the man that I came to fight. And if you would have told me that he would become one of my closest friends in the world, I probably would have suggested that you need professional help. But that's exactly what happened. People called Teddy and me the odd couple, which was certainly true. There are few men with whom I have had less in common.
Ted was born in a famous well-to-do family in Boston. He attended private schools and Harvard University, was politically liberal and liberal in his lifestyle, at least until he married Vicki, who set him straight, by the way. I grew up poor in a working class family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I attended public school. And the Harvard of Utah, BYU. That's should get a bigger laugh than that.
I was laughing at it, I tell you that. Great school, Harvard. While Ted often played the role of the -- you know, the affable Irishman, I was the teetotaling Mormon bishop and he was so proud one day to discover that I'm also Scotts Irish. Yet despite our differences, we were able to work out a lot of things together.
And that was due in large part to Teddy's willingness to recognize and work with those who shared his goals even if they had different ideas on how to reach those goals. One of the defining moments as a senator came when I met two families from Provo, Utah. The parents of these families were humble and hardworking. They were prudent. They were frugal. And they were able to provide food and shelter for their children, but the one necessity they couldn't afford was health insurance.
This is what inspired me to begin my work with Ted in creating the SCHIP program which continues to provide health care and coverage for millions of children throughout the world.
And which passed with bipartisan support even though it came with a seemingly inopportune time politically speaking. Over the years, Ted and I worked successfully to get both Republicans and Democrats onboard for causes such as assistance to AIDS victims. We passed the three AIDS bills and equal rights for the disabled.
Our latest collaboration came just this year in the form of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. A new law that is designed to empower and encourage private citizens of all ages to volunteer in their communities. I named the bill after Ted.
(APPLAUSE) I don't think any of these bills could have passed if it were not for Teddy's willingness to put bipartisanship ahead of partisanship. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy famously said, "We must think and act not only for the moment but for our time."
I'm reminded of the story of a great French marshal who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The marshal replied, "In that case, there is no time to lose. Plant it this afternoon."
The president's wisdom was not lost on his youngest brother. By force of will driven by the sense of immediacy that he brought to every endeavor, Ted Kennedy had the ability to take actions today that might not bear fruit until the distant tomorrow. Like all good leaders when they struck out on a mission, he was able to inspire many to follow him until the job was done no matter how long it took or how hard the task was.
Now that is not to suggest that working with Ted on a difficult piece of legislation was sheer drudgery, although sometimes it could be utterly fatiguing. More often -- and this is what most of us who worked closely with him or against him will miss -- Ted Kennedy would bring a sense of joy to even the most difficult, contentious legislative negotiating session.
While many of my more conservative constituents have run me over the coals for just being willing to sit in the same room with Teddy Kennedy, the truth is that he and I didn't agree on much. We didn't agree on a lot of things. We sat next to each other in the health committee for the better part of two decades. Some may not remember this, but there was a time when smoking was allowed during the committee meetings and hearings. And during that time, you can always tell when Teddy and I were in an argument or we're fighting by the amount of cigar smoke that he blew my way as a nonsmoking Mormon.
If there was a particularly strong disagreement, he would just sit back in his chair puffing smoke my way giving me an actual headache to go along with the political headaches he gave to all of us on the Republican side. Other times in committee on the floor, or even in the press, Teddy would lay into me with the harshest red meat liberal rhetoric you can imagine.
But just minutes later, he'd come over and put his arm around me and asked, "How did I do, Orrin?"
I will not tell you every response that I made to him. But first, this -- of course, this wasn't spiteful. Teddy just knew how to push people's buttons. It was one of the qualities that made him such an effective senator. And for those who are lucky enough to become his friends, it was a source of no small amount of laughter.
It was in the late 1980s, when I knew that I'd finally made it into Teddy's inner circle. I was working out in the Senate gym one day in December when Teddy came in and asked me if I was going to be at his party that night. Now I'm ashamed to admit that I've been in the Senate for over a decade and I hadn't heard about the annual Kennedy staff Christmas party. Those who have been to one or more of those parties will agree a different side of Teddy was off and on display on those nights.
At that first party I attended, Teddy came out and did a surprisingly accurate and hilarious impersonation of Elvis Presley. Tight jumpsuit and all. He looked awful as far as I was concerned.
Then he joined the staff performing skits making fun of Ronald Reagan, Dan Quayle and even himself. It's really too bad that Teddy was never asked to host "Saturday Night Live." But of course, serving in the Senate doesn't really leave you with enough time to do just that sort of thing. Just ask John McCain.
Whenever Teddy and I would introduce a bill together, Teddy would tell reporters that if he and I were on the same bill, it was obvious that one of us hadn't read it.
It always got a huge laugh as it did just now and I was just left there grinning pretending it was the first time I've ever heard him say that.
So one time I decided to come prepared. Right after Teddy made his remark, I pushed out a copy of the bill that was heavily highlighted and said here you go, Ted, you can have my copy. The important parts are already underlined.
I think Ted got a big laugh out of that and all the reporters who were there. Complementing Teddy's sense of humor was his personal generosity. On one occasion after a particularly late night in the Senate, I have to say that Teddy was feeling no pain at that time. He was with his friend, Chris Dodd -- my friend.
I did what my former AA asked me to do. He called me one day, it was Frank Manson and he had just become the Mormon church mission president in Boston, Massachusetts, presiding over 200 young Mormon missionaries.
So when he called me, he said, Frank Manson, he said, "Could I ask you a favor?" And I said sure. He said, "Would you be willing to come to speak to my 200 young missionaries up here in Boston?" I said well, for you, Frank, I will. He said, "Can I ask another favor?" I said sure. He said, "Would you ask Teddy Kennedy to come and speak, too?" I said, well -- I said, I don't know. I said but I'll ask him.
He said, well, can I ask another favor? I said my gosh, what's that? He said will you ask Teddy to get Faneuil Hall for the meeting? I said, oh my goodness. I said, well, I'll ask him.
So in this evening, when Teddy and Chris were feeling no pain, I walked off the floor and Teddy put his arm around me and he said, oh, Orrin, I want you to come up to Hyannis Port and I want you to go sailing with me. Yes. You want to do this? Yes, I want you to do that. Yes. I said great.
I said, now, Teddy, I said, I have a favor to ask of you. He said, you do, so what's that? I said do you remember Frank Manson, my administrative assistant? He said oh, yes, good guy, good guy.
I said, well, you know, he's asked that you and I come and speak to his -- and I said he's now the mission president in the Mormon church, over 200 Mormon young missionaries in Boston, Massachusetts. My hometown, and I said yes.
Forgive me. I've asked Vicki to forgive me already, you know. I said, well, what about. And I said, well, how about he would like you and me to come up and speak to his 200 young missionaries. He said done. Just like that.
I said, well, I have another favor to ask of you. What's that? I said, well, he would like you to get Faneuil Hall. He said done.
So the next day I got into the office and I got this nice letter for Teddy. And I got it over to him. And I saw him later in the day and he's holding that letter and his hands were shaking. And he said, Orrin -- he said, what else did I agree to last night?
After telling these things, my eyes start to water, my nose starts to run. It was just a mess, I tell you.
But in any event, Teddy Kennedy and Orrin Hatch appeared before 200 young Mormon missionaries in Faneuil Hall and they will never forget the tremendous altruistic talk that he gave to them on that day.
Well, all I can say is it was really something. He didn't try to weasel out of it. Instead, he produced the hall and he gave that beautiful speech.
I was impressed as usual. And those missionaries will never forget that. And though they were of a different faith, he commended them for their willingness to serve a cause bigger than themselves and thanked them for their selflessness. This is just one example of the graciousness of my dear friend, Ted Kennedy.
There was another time when the Mormon church was nearing completion of its temple here in Boston. Belmont (ph), I think. I was approached by several people working in the temple and informed that the city would not allow a spire to be placed on the top of the temple with an angel on top of it as is customary on Mormon temples.
I immediately called Ted and asked for help. Not long after that conversation, he called me back and said, "All of western Massachusetts will see the Angel Gabriel on the top of the Mormon temple.
Though I was tempted to leave it alone, I had to inform Teddy it was actually the Angel Maroni, a prominent figure in the LDS faith. And at that point, Teddy replied, does this mean I'm going to get another book of Mormon for Christmas?
Of course he did.
Of course, Teddy was always respectful of my faith and that of others, but every one around us knew that I liked to give him a hard time.
One thing that has been recounted in the tributes of the last few days has been Teddy's dedication to his family, what he has been to his own children, to his mother, to his nieces and nephews or to his siblings. I can attest to this.
After I spent some time getting to know the Kennedy family, Eunice started interceding for me when Ted and I disagreed. I love to this day Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver.
And I love their family. Let me just say Bobby is one of my best friends and so are the other Shriver family members. What they do for this country and what Eunice did is just beyond belief. Well, whenever we weren't getting along really well, Eunice told Teddy one day, she said, I don't want you mistreating that nice, young Senator Hatch from Utah.
I'm only a couple years younger than he. But, you know, it was just wonderful to have her stand up for me. And when he and I had really tough trouble reaching agreement on really important occasions, and he'd get really recalcitrant and bullheaded and his back would go in the air. I would say all right, Teddy, I'm going to go see Eunice. He'd say no, no, no, don't do that.
He said, don't do that. We'll work it out. Well, Eunice had a great effect on both of us and we loved her very, very much.
The love Teddy had for his family provided him with insight and empathy for others. This was reflected in his use on policy and in his dealings with his friends.
When I lost my parents -- I might add when Teddy lost his wonderful mother -- I snuck up here to Boston. I didn't tell him I was coming and I just thought I would sneak into the back of this beautiful Catholic church and just pay my respect. But they caught me and he moved me right up closer to family.
When I lost my parents, Ted was there with empathetic words and sincere sympathy. Ted was a man experienced with facing family tragedy, having grieved more than his share. And yet he became stronger for it. He and Vicki flew to Utah to attend my mother's funeral. I didn't know they were coming. It was a gesture that will always mean a great deal to me.
It was in that humble Mormon church and I had to give the eulogy. So, he was right on the front row with my family and I just gave him the business as much as everybody else. But it was wonderful and I'll never forget it.
I love Vicki Kennedy as well. She's been a tremendously wonderful wife to my friend, Ted.
I've said publicly that I have seen -- I've been present to witness two major changes in Ted Kennedy's life and career. The first was after the elections of 1980. Free from the pressures that come from presidential ambitions, Teddy returned to the Senate with a singular focus on accomplishing his legislative goals, on building consensus and doing good for the American people. The second change was for those that knew Teddy, I think much more profound. It's when he met and married Vicki.
Before he met Vicki, Teddy was often burdened by the stresses that came with his life. Whether it was being patriarch to one of the most visible families in the country or being a prominent legislator, true enough on the surface, it seemed that Teddy had life that most people could only dream of. But I think at times the pressures that came with that life left him unable to enjoy it. That all changed when he met Vicki.
Vicki was the love and light of Teddy's life. Their marriage in many respects saved Teddy. He was forever a different man. He was still the fierce stubborn leader in the Senate he always was, but it was clear from that time on that he enjoyed his life and the role he played far more than he had in the past. Teddy and Vicki's marriage made him a better man and a better senator.
Well, I remember one time he got mad as heck at me and demanded to come to the office. I brought him in and he started yelling at me and finally, I just said, wait a minute. I said, you know, I wrote a song for you and Vicki. He said you did? (LAUGHTER)
I said yes. So you want to hear it? He said oh, yes. He forgot all about his anger. I just had a little cassette and I played it for him. He said I've got to have that. I've got to have that. It was called "Souls Along the Way." Actually that song was in "Oceans 12." You can't hear it, but it was in there. I could hear it, just barely.
Here I was working as usual, and I think July 3rd of that year in Salt Lake City and I get this phone call from Ted Kennedy. He was out on his boat, you know, as usual. And he said Orrin -- he said, I just played that song for Vicki. He said she's over there crying at the end of the boat. He said she loved it. I said that's great.
I said why aren't you working like I have to work? And he just laughed because he knew that his life was far different one from mine. And I laughed, too, because I knew it as well.
On my way back today, let me just say that I thought about our relationship and how much I sorely miss him. A couple of months ago, we met for our last hour together, had pictures taken together. That mean so much to me and I have to say it was a wonderful occasion.
And I miss fighting in public and joking with him in the background. I miss all the things that we knew we could do together and what he had to do with others as well.
On the way back today, I -- you know, I just thought about the apostle Paul who shortly before his death wrote, "For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I fought a good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith."
So as I came back, I just wanted to write a few thoughts down in my own handwriting. And I hope you won't mind if I read them to you just before I finish.
Some are weak and some are strong. Some people go along to get along. Some people are larger than life. Some are born in poverty, some are born in wealth. Some are like a flashing light that dissipates in air.
Some are like a gift of life who never find a spare. Some fulfill their destiny. Others lose each day. Some are filled with daily joy, while others waste away. Some are like my liberal friend. God be with you till we meet again.
In the end, the good thing's won. He leaves the earth a better place. In the end, we all can smile. He cared for all the human race.
In the end, we all look back and see the many things. In the end, we all look up, he carried -- he's carried there on angels' wings. In the end, these in repose are greeting as we speak. In the end, the darling rose no longer has to seek.
I will miss my Irish friend. God be with you till we meet again. God bless this family. God bless all of you. Thanks so much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we all know how much Senator Kennedy loved song. And now it's my pleasure to introduce a vocalist that he admired so very much. Brian Stokes Mitchell, accompanied by Vedis Blaksis(ph) on the piano, and a song that captures a lot of what tonight is about.
BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, SINGER: Thank you. Senator Kennedy really loved the arts as we all know. And those of us in the arts really have loved Senator Kennedy also. It's how by met through music, through missing. And it was rare that we wouldn't greet each other with not a hello but a spontaneous duet of "Some Enchanted Evening" or "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." And I have to say to my heart and to my ear and to my mind, he is one of my favorite singers ever because he sang with his heart.
Singing notes is easy. Singing from your heart is hard. And he sang as he lived his life and as he did everything else.
There's a song that I sang for him at one of his birthdays quite a few years ago. And I can't sing it now without thinking of him. It is about an impossible dream or somebody who dreams the impossible to make impossible -- making impossible possible.
The quest is what's important. And I have to say now that Senator Kennedy and this song will forever share a very special place in my heart.
(BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL PERFORMS "THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM")
Senator Kennedy's grandfather, as you all know, presided over this city many years ago. And the senator enjoyed a working and friendly and warm relationship with the incumbent mayor of the City of Boston. We welcome him this evening, the Honorable Thomas Menino.
MAYOR TOM MENINO (D), BOSTON: Thank you, Paul. Paul said he was going to ask me to sing. I got thrown into the choir when I was in the eighth grade and I haven't sang since. (INAUDIBLE).
Ted Kennedy was my friend. I feel tremendous sadness today, but also a sense of pride. The history books will show that Boston wasn't just the cradle of liberty, it birthed its champion, too. Senator Edward M. Kennedy was born here.
The man of the Senate came from the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, where he now rests.
Angela and I, together with all Bostonians, are mourning a native son. Some of our neighbors have met Ted, both the immigrants from our ports, they're trained in our hospitals, they're educated in our schools. When they stepped foot onto the greenway, they knew his work. Our thoughts and prayers are with Vicki and the entire Kennedy family. Your imprint across the city is indelible. The new Edward Kennedy Institute is another lasting legacy of the Kennedys from Boston.
I hate to say it in these tough financial times, but we need to buy some more red paint to extend the Freedom Trail.
I had the privilege of serving in the office that Teddy's grandfather once held. I think Fritz would have had a good laugh at Teddy and me sitting together at Fenway Park. Teddy called me up one day and he said, let's go to the ball game next week. It was a very cold night we decided to go. And I said, Teddy, I'll get a seat upstairs in the luxury boxes. He insisted we stay out of the skybox so we could be with -- be with the people.
By about the fourth or fifth inning, Senator Kennedy finally leaned over to me and said, mayor, I love the people, but it's freezing my bottom off.
MENINO: He came -- which is (INAUDIBLE).
I'll always be thankful that he worked so hard to bring the Democratic National Convention to Boston. Yes, because it put our city on display to the world, but also because it gave Senator Kennedy and me reason to spend so much time together. We worked hard. We worked relentlessly. We had tremendous fun doing it. We played so much good cop/bad cop that I couldn't remember sometimes what role I was supposed to play. You know, Senator Kennedy would say to the person, John, umm, I'd like to see $1.5 million from you folks. And within a half an hour later, this person would call me up and say, does he really mean that?
I'd say, well, if you gave us $1 million, we'd be happy. And that happened so often, it raised the money for the Democratic National Convention.
I know that one of the great highlights of his career was addressing that convention. Today, Teddy called Boston a place where every street is history's home. That's true of the old North Church and Faneuil Hall. It's true now of all the places Senator Kennedy walked.
We have followed in his steps a path to equality and opportunity. Teddy was always out front on the issues. It's something I admired and tried to emulate. Sometimes it got us into trouble. Several years ago, at the beginning of the green revolution, we were supposed to go to a green event together. I had been driving around in a compact hybrid. I complained all the time it was tiny.
Well, our staffs thought -- staff always gets you in trouble -- our staff thought it would be good for Teddy and I to ride over to the event together in my hybrid. We're both small guys, by the way. Of course, it was really too small for me and certainly too small for the two of us. We were like two overgrown peas in -- in a pod. We sought alternate transportation, but we never stopped fighting for progress together.
On the occasion of Teddy's 70th birthday, I threw a party for him in Boston and made him an honorary harbor master. I mention it because thinking about him that day makes me smile. The senator took it a bit -- took a bit -- took it a bit too seriously, but set out to try to actually direct traffic on Boston Harbor. I mention it, also, because I think it was a role suited to him. The harbor master is a guardian. He watches over the tired and the weary and the worn out. That was Ted Kennedy.
When the phone rings, I miss Teddy's voice on the end of the line. When debates rage, I'm sad he won't echo in the well of the Senate. The sound -- but in the sounds of school kids accepting diplomas, immigrants taking the citizenship oaths, neighbors offering neighbors a helping hand we'll forever hear his call for justice. I'll always hear the familiar tunes of a loyal friend.
I also would like to say that (INAUDIBLE) academy in the City of Washington, one of our pilot schools. He was dedicated to health care. I sent a letter to the board of trustees the other day and we're going to name that school after Edward M. Kennedy, because all they are about...
MENINO: ...at school, all they...
MENINO: All they do is train kids to get into the health care field. And we know Teddy, how much he loved health care, how he believed in it and he led the -- he led the charge. And shortly, we will have reforms in health care because of Ted Kennedy. I want to make sure that school in Boston reminds everybody how hard Teddy fought for those things.
Vicki and family, thanks.
Thank you for what you are.
KIRK: John Culver was a Harvard classmate of Senator Kennedy's, a football teammate. He worked in his Senate office, went back home to Iowa, served in the Congress of the United States and then the Senate of the United States. He was a great friend for a long time, John Culver.
JOHN CULVER: Thank you very much, Paul. To Vicki, who, as Orrin Hatch said, really was the love of Ted's life; to his sister Jean Smith, who always told me that she was Ted's favorite sister; and to all the children, Ted's children and Vicki's children and all the extended Kennedy family; in a real sense, everyone here in the room, who I think feels very strongly part of that extraordinary family.
It was in the winter, I believe, of 1975 when Ted called me and said that I'd like you to come up to Boston with me. And -- and they suggested several sites for the John F. Kennedy Museum and Library and I'd like you to come along. So I did.
And I remember, it was a winter day, rather cold and overcast and there was snow on the ground. And when we came to this particular place and looked across Dorchester Bay and saw Boston, saw the water, Ted turned to me and he said, you know, I think Jack would like this place.
And, of course it wasn't many years later that this library was built. And I think we all agree, Jack would really like this place.
CULVER: Also, I was reminded again as I came here to the library of that little sailboat out front, the Ventura, which Joe Kennedy talked about. And I have a fond memory -- I guess it's a fond memory -- of the Ventura myself. And it was when Ted and I one time were in summer school in 1953 at Harvard. And Ted said to me one day, you know, why don't you come with me this weekend? I'm going down to the Cape. It's a lot of fun. There's going to be a -- a sailboat race. It's called the Nantucket Regatta. It's a lot of fun. And I want you to come down and be part of my crew on the sailboat race.
And I said, Ted, I'm sure that's an honor to be invited to be on your crew in a sailboat race, but I've never been on a sailboat. I -- I think I've seen a picture of a sailboat. I said, I come from Iowa and the only boat I ever saw were barges on the Mississippi River.
Well, he said there's nothing to it. There's nothing to it.
How many times have we all heard Ted say, there's nothing to it?
I should -- at that time, we were both young. I didn't quite understand that comment. And I grew to understand later. I said OK. So we got in the car and Ted and I were driving down to the Cape and he turned on the car radio. And we were enjoying the trip, listening to some music. And this was -- this was on a Friday afternoon.
And suddenly the radio broadcast was interrupted with a bulletin. And the bulletin said serious storm warnings. And it said, danger at sea, don't anyone go out in the ocean. And -- and I said well, Ted, I guess the sailboat trip is off.
Oh, he said, there's nothing to it. (LAUGHTER)
CULVER: And I said, well, the fellow on the radio thought there was something.
He said, there's nothing to it.
So I said I -- he must know what he's doing. You know, he lives down there and I've never been on the ocean. So when we got down -- when we got down to the house that -- when we got down to the Kennedy house, it was about 3:00, 4:00 in the afternoon. And there were dark, black storm clouds gathering. But I said, Ted, it does -- it looks kind of scary.
He said, nothing to it.
So I said well, I'm hungry.
And he said, I'm hungry, too. And so it was about 3:00 and we'd missed lunch. And we went in and we went right to the kitchen, where I often went with him when we were down there, right to the kitchen. And the cook -- the cook was still there.
And he said, I'm just finishing up here, but I have some leftover salmon salads mix -- salmon salad -- and I could make you boys some sandwiches if you'd like. And I thought, well, that's -- we both thought that was a good idea.
And so I -- we didn't have a lot of time, he said, so I only had two salmon salad sandwiches. I had -- and I had a -- I had a quart of milk with it.
CULVER: And -- and we -- I would have had more, but we didn't have time, really. So -- so Ted says come on, we've got to get going now.
And now it's about 4:00. And so we get out. And in those days, they didn't have all the fancy docks and everything, even around the family compound. It was just kind of a beach, as I remember.
And he said, we've got to get in the boat.
I said, OK. And I looked out on the horizon, looking for this boat. And I said, where's the boat?
He said, there -- there's the boat.
Well, if any of you have seen the Mya out front, that was the boat. The Mya is exactly 20 -- I mean the -- excuse me, not the Mya, the Ventura. The Ventura. You've seen that little boat out front. That's the boat I'm talking about. That's the boat he pointed out and said we were going on a sailboat race with. And it's -- it's 26 feet long.
And Ted and I both weighed, at the time, over 200 pounds. We were both over six feet tall.
And I said, that's -- you know, he said that's it, that's the boat, let's get it out in the water. So I did what I could to help him get it out in the water, but the water, at that time there are huge waves now. There was thunder. There was lightning. The sky was black. And I -- I could hardly get in the boat, it was -- it was bouncing so much. And -- and he's at the, I guess, the tiller or something. And...
CULVER: And suddenly, suddenly I was -- I realized this friend of mine that I thought I knew quite well started screaming at me -- shouting at me. I was -- I was terrified. I -- and, you know, after a while, I was more terrified of him than the storm.
CULVER: And I didn't -- I didn't know -- I didn't know this man. And so, so he kept screaming at me, "the spinnaker," "the jib," "port side," "secure that, you know, whatever."
And you know -- you know, Ted's not always easy to understand when you know what he's talking about. And here it was a roar -- with a roar, with an incredible roar now, the ocean. And the waves and this little tiny -- it's like a cork on a -- we're being bounced all over and it's my fault. And so I'm just hanging on for dear life. And about -- we only got about 200 miracle yards out and I lost the sandwiches.
CULVER: And -- and I thought -- I thought I -- I thought I was going to die. And I've -- I've never been so miserable in my life, hanging over the side of the boat and he's screaming at me.
I mean do you think he said, hey, I'm sorry, do you feel bad?
Forget it. And so somehow -- somehow I pulled myself together. Somehow, we righted this boat in this incredible storm. Really unbelievable. It still scares me thinking about it. So we -- we finally, finally get all the way over to Nantucket. It's 11:00 at night. And I'm saying to Ted, well, which motel do we stay in?
CULVER: And Ted said, we're not staying in a motel.
I said, we aren't? We're all wet. We're all cold.
Now, where are we staying, Teddy?
We're staying on the boat. So I mean I realized then I was with something out of Captain Ahab of Moby Dick.
So believe it or not -- believe it or not, there were four cushions. And they were, of course, all wet and everything. But there were four cushions. And he took two. I wanted to take three, but he took two, I took two. There were three inches of water -- cold seawater, seaweed, everything. He pulled -- we pulled the boat up on the beach. And that's where we spent the night.
Well, this was a lot of fun so far. So the next...
CULVER: ...the next day -- the next day we got up and we needed a third man on our crew, Ted said. I didn't have any idea what we needed. I knew I needed -- I needed a lot more than one more man. And he's -- so we go walking down to Nantucket. And sure enough, there's this poor little guy who was a salesman at the Andover Shop in Cambridge. And Ted -- Ted went up to him and said would you like to go sailing with us today?
And the poor kid said, yes, yes, I'd like to. He Shanghaied him. We took him and -- just like I was, he pulled him on the boat and me on the boat and off we go for the races.
And so the races start, I guess. And from that point on, all I remember is Ted yelling, yelling, yelling about me to get up on the right side front of the boat or the left side. And he always claims that when I was to rotate with the other little guy that I said, you heard him, get up there. And, of course, it was really my turn to go up.
So anyway, somehow this race was mercifully over. I didn't see anything except this cold water come pouring on me, you know, sunburned; a t-shirt. I mean it was a nightmare.
And I -- I didn't even see any of the other boats, but we kept going around and around and around and around. So finally, finally, finally, finally, this thing was mercifully over. And Ted seemed satisfied. I had no idea. Probably I was satisfied. I lived through it. But I looked out and it was like a mirage. Here's this great big yacht. And it was the Honey Fitz.
And Ted sort of wanted to surprise me. He knew, you know, and we all know how much Ted has making his friends uncomfortable at times. And -- and he hadn't told me, but Ambassador Kennedy had come out to watch the race and had brought three or four of his friends along. And they were out there in the big Honey Fitz, named after Ted's grandfather. And it looked like the -- I had never saw anything that looked so good to me but that boat.
And he said, now we're going to get aboard the boat and we're going to, you know, they're going to tow the Ventura -- they're going to tow the Ventura back behind the boat.
Well, I thought my God, this is OK. So we come alongside -- we come alongside the Honey Fitz. And I remember I just -- I'm like Eddie Rickenbacker in "South Pacific," I've been on the boat, you know, starving to death out there in the water -- cold, cold, miserable. And I remember Ambassador Kennedy had a megaphone. And he leaned over the side of the boat and he said, "Good race. Good race, Teddy. But I've got some bad news for you. The captain says the sea is far too rough to tow you boys back on that boat, so you'll have to sail back."
I mean I couldn't believe my ears. I wanted to jump out of the boat and take my chances that they might pick me up.
So anyway, anyway, but he said I have some -- I have something for you here in this container, a hot chow (INAUDIBLE) -- you know, clam chowder, hot, vacuum packed. They clamped things on it.
And he's lowering on over a rope. And Teddy always claimed that I grabbed it and tore the rope off, ripped off the top without opening it -- just tore the top and then -- and then proceeded to chugalug the whole canteen, about this much. And the only thing I missed was what went down my t-shirt. And he -- and I said boy, that was good.
And he said -- well, Teddy said, what about me?
I'm supposed to have some of that.
Well, I don't think it was entirely true that I drank all of it, but I drank most of it. So anyway, they pull the rope up and we're on our own again. And I mean 24 hours on this boat.
And so now we head back home, I guess. Well, fortunately, the trip back wasn't all that bad after what I'd been through. And it was fairly calm. But we now get within sight of Hyannis after how many hours, I don't know. But you could see the lights of the house probably a half mile away. And I'm thinking, boy, we'll be -- we'll be in a hot shower in no time.
And suddenly the ship stopped. The boat just stopped. And I said -- no wind. We weren't moving and I could see the house. But I didn't know how we were going to get there. It was too far to swim.
And I said, Teddy, what do you do now?
He said, we get out of the boat.
I said, we get out of the boat?
Yes, and he said, one of us has got to push and the other pull -- the other pull the rope ahead of the boat.
I mean you've got -- you can't believe, it can you?
I couldn't believe it. So after 24 hours on this boat -- now it's 11:00, midnight, something -- we climb out of that boat into the water again. And he's pulling and I'm pushing. And after a while, we get a -- we finally make it to shore.
Well, when we were back at summer school, it was a whole week before I could get the seaweed taste out of my mouth. But, you know, in the following years, I was fortunate to take many, many sailboat trips with -- with Ted, not only around Hyannis and the islands, but also to Maine, also to the Caribbean, also to the Greek Islands. And those were some of the most memorable really truly enjoyable and pleasurable memories that I could ever enjoy. Always full of fun. Always full of joy and -- and full of laughter.
And Ted was awfully good about it. I never learned how to sail, but Teddy always gave me a pass on those voyages. And for that, I'm always grateful, and for those memories.
Smooth sailing, Teddy.
KIRK: If their sides aren't too sore from laughter, the Boston Community Chorus.
KIRK: Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming a good friend of Senator Kennedy and all of ours, the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden.
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, Paul. Vicki and all the children and I -- John used to regale us like that all the time at lunch in the Senate dining room. And John is acting like Teddy always took advantage of him. You should have seen it when they both teamed up on somebody else.
John, I remember we were talking about Angola once. And you and Teddy were working out a deal with some of our more conservative friends. And you agreed on a particular course of action. And I was, along with your colleague Dick Clark -- you and Dick and Teddy and myself, in Teddy's office. And being naive as I was as a young senator, we started about how we were going to approach this issue on the floor. And Teddy said, we've got to do this. And I said but -- I said, but that's not what we said. We told these guys we were going to do that.
And Teddy very politely tried to say to me, well, no, we're going to -- this went on for a few minutes. And finally, John, in a roaring voice said Biden, what the hell do you think this is? Boy state? That was my introduction to the squeeze of Kennedy and Culver. What the hell do you think this is? Boy state?
You know, I know we're all here today to celebrate, celebrate the life of an incredible man. But I want to first say to the whole Kennedy clan, I want to give thanks; thanks for your father; thanks for your husband; thanks for your uncle; thanks for your brother, who, in an astonishingly and totally unexpected way, ended up playing an important part in every critical moment of my adult life.
It was literally an accident of history. But he crept into my heart and before I knew it, he owned a piece of it. Today, I was thinking about how Teddy was -- I wouldn't be standing here if it were not for Teddy Kennedy. I wouldn't be standing here as vice president of the United States. I wouldn't be a United States senator were if it not for Teddy Kennedy.
He was the catalyst for my improbable win as a 29-year-old kid running for the Senate, in a year when Senator McGovern only got 34 percent, 35 percent of the vote in my state. I was running against a fellow who was extremely popular, the incumbent senator.
And although it surprised the hell out of people and became -- we were coming astonishingly close, we needed something else. And out of the blue, literally, about eight days before the election, Teddy Kennedy showed up. And he showed up in a neighborhood that we referred to as Little Italy in Wilmington, Delaware, and drew a crowd. It was actually a dinner of a couple thousand people.
And a community that would vote nationally for the Democrats, but on all of the state-wide offices always voted Republican, including for the Senate and the House seats. I ended up winning that neighborhood. I ended up winning the election by 21 -- excuse me, 3,100 votes.
And although I don't know for certain, it seems highly unlikely, congressman, I would have ever won were it not for your father energizing people the way he did at the very end.
I remember what he said. He stood there and he ended the speech by saying, I have only one problem with Joe Biden. I think he's a little too young to be a senator.
And literally, the next day, the "Wall Street Journal" played it straight, "Kennedy Says Biden too young for the United States Senate."
But seven weeks later, when my wife and daughter were killed in an automobile accident, and my two boys were very badly injured and hospitalized -- one of them who is with me today, Hunter. The other is in Iraq.
I got a call from your dad. And I didn't know your dad too well. I mean, I just met him that one time. Here I was an Irish Catholic kid from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who only thought of Teddy Kennedy and the entire Kennedy family in sort of a distant terms, hushed tones. And here he was on the phone.
And not only was he on the phone, but he called me in that hospital almost every day. And about every other day I turned around, literally, Vicki, and there was another specialist from Boston, Massachusetts, one of your great hospitals, sitting next to me, who I never asked for and didn't know I needed, but I needed.
He was the prod -- he convinced me to go to the Senate because I had told my governor after that election -- the governor-elect to be precise, my brother did, that we were going to appoint someone else. I didn't want to go to the Senate. And it was your brother who came to see me to tell me that I owed it to my deceased wife and children to at least be sworn in and stay for at least six months. And when I got to the Senate, he would literally come by once or twice a week to my office in the middle of the afternoon. And I didn't want to be there. I wanted to get the hell home. I didn't want to be around.
And John, he took me for the first time I ever went to the Senate gym. He'd come by and take me to the Senate gym. I'll never forget the first time he took me. I hadn't met any of these famous players. I got sworn in late compared to the other senators.
I'll never forget walking into the Senate gym and him introducing me to Senator Jack Javits and Warren Magnuson, both of whom were stark naked when I met him. I remember, my god, senator, how are you? I -- I -- but he never -- he sort of took on the role of being my older brother. He just was there all the time. And I never asked.
And I never could really understand, to tell you the truth, at first. I didn't understand why he was going out of his way for me this way. He got me on the committees that I ended up chairing. He -- and he was sort of my tutor, sort of exposing this kid from Scranton to a world that I had never seen and didn't fully understand.
I used to go home every night in the beginning. I went home every night for 36 years. But I went home every night as soon as the Senate was out. And I never once accepted any invitation in Washington, not out of a desire not to be in Washington. I just wanted to get home.
After -- one afternoon, Teddy came to my office and said, Joe, look, I've got to give you a piece of advice. He said, this is -- I got a call from Pamela Harrimon. This is the fourth invitation you've gotten from Governor Harriman to come to one of his dinners. Now, I didn't know enough to know that was a big deal. I really didn't. I honest to god didn't.
He said, Joe, you've got to go. You've got to go. It just doesn't look -- I'll go with you. I'll never forget going into his home in Georgetown and sitting, and he was sitting in an armchair -- excuse me, a winged chair. I was on a couch next to the chair nearest Harriman. Teddy was next to me. Henry Kissinger was across from me and Paul Warrenky (ph), both arms control experts.
And I was this 30-year-old kid. And Averell Harriman had a way of trying to include everybody in the conversation. They were talking about a complicated arms control agreement. It used to be the SALT agreement. And this discussion was going on. And all of a sudden, Averell Harriman looked at me and said, well, Joe, what do the young people think about this?
I didn't know what the hell to say, John. I was squared to death. I didn't want to make a fool of me. Here I was, a United States senator. So I reached over and picked an object up off the coffee table. And I was nervous. And I was flipping it back and forth in my hands, I guess, as I answered the question.
And I noticed everyone stiffened up when I was talking. And the butler came in and said, time for dinner. And everybody immediately got up and bolted for the dinner table. And your dad grabbed my arm and said, damn it, put that thing down. He said, that costs more than your house.
I was flipping a Faberge egg in my hands. So the sophisticated kid from Delaware --
It seemed like every single thing I did he was there. When my character was under attack, I sat with the committee and said, maybe I shouldn't chair this committee until this gets settled. And your father stood up and said no. You stay right where you are. And I said well, let me explain. And he said before 10 of my colleagues -- he said, we know you. You don't have to explain a single thing. And walked out of the conference room. We walked back into the hearing.
You have no idea what that meant to me at that moment, because my character had never, ever been questioned.
You know, I was sitting in Wilmington, Delaware, after recuperating for six months from two cranial aneurysms and a major embolism, and kind of feeling sorry for myself. And all of a sudden, up my old dusty driveway comes a cab. And out jumps Teddy Kennedy. And he had a great big -- turns out to be a picture frame under his arm. There's about two and half by three feet.
And I was sitting by a pole and he walked over and he said, where can I change? And he had a bathing suit with him. He put on his bathing suit and came back out. And he said, I want to give you this. He gave me this picture of a big Irish stag. And he said to my Irish chairman, come back, I need you.
He sat there for six hours with me. Got back -- called a cab, got back in the train and went back.
You know, for 36 years, I had the privilege of every single solitary day going to work every morning with Teddy Kennedy. I had the privilege every day for 36 years to witness history. I had the privilege the last 20 of those years to sit literally next to him every single day.
And in the process, he had an incredible impact on me, and, I noticed, everyone around him. He'd constantly renewed my faith and optimism in the possible. I never once saw your father with a defeatist attitude. I never saw him petty. I never saw him act in a small way.
And as a consequence, he made us all bigger, both his friends, his allies, and his foes. His dignity, his lack of vitriol, his lack of pettiness forced some of the less generous members of our community to act bigger than they were. He was remarkable to watch.
People say we all have our theories of why Teddy was so successful as a legislator. I think one of them was people didn't want to look small in front of him, even the people who were small. The astounding thing to me after 36 years of having as a consequence of just, as my mother would say, living long, I've gotten to meet almost every major political figure in the world. And that's not hyperbole. It's literally true.
And your father was one of the few who I ever met that, at the end of the day, it was never about him; it was always about you. A truly remarkable character trait. So many others, when it got down to the end, it was about them, not about others. With Teddy, it was never, ever about him.
The interesting thing to me is that I think the legacy of Teddy Kennedy -- it's presumptuous of me to say this, because who am I to judge? But I think the legacy of Teddy Kennedy can be measured in no small part as a consequence of how we in America look at one another, how blacks look at whites, how gays look at straits, how straits look at gays, how we literally look at one another, and, in turn, how we look at ourselves.
Because when you were with him, you had to measure yourself against him. And it always required you to be larger than you were inclined to be.
You know, his death was not unlike his life. As we all know, overcoming pain and loss with a sense of dignity and pride that is amazing. He met his death in the same brave, generous terms that he lived his life. Archie Ingersoll (ph) could have been thinking about your father when he wrote, "when the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns compromise with death, this is heroism."
Your father was a historic figure. He was a heroic figure beyond that.
I will remember and celebrate his life every single time I see a young adolescent kid coping with rather than cowering from having to make a decision about his sexuality.
I'll celebrate your father every single time I see my granddaughter stand up with those boys and smack something over the second baseman's head.
I'll think of your father every time a woman stands up and demands and is granted exactly what she's entitled to.
I'll think of your father every time I see an individual walk out of recovery and start a new life, start over again.
And Vicki, I'll think of you every time I recall those words of Christopher Marlow, who said, "come live with me and be my love and we will all the pleasures prove."
It's exactly what the two of you did and everyone can see it. Now, the pundits are writing, and they mean well by it, that this is the end of an era, that this is the end of the Kennedy era. But I watched at Eunice's funeral. And I invite everyone to look around this room today and take a look at this incredible family.
Take a look. I mean it.
BIDEN: Take a look. Take a look at this generation of Kennedys. It possesses more talent, more commitment, more grit, more grace than any family I've ever seen. So when they say -- and they say that this is a new -- the end of the Kennedy era, I want you to know I realize your parents collectively left America a lot more than this great library, a lot more than landmark legislation, a lot more than inspirational leadership.
They left us you. As maybe your pop would say, because of you, the dream still lives.
Thank you for the honor of allowing me to be with you.
KIRK: Our final speaker is Senator Kennedy's loving niece. I've had the privilege of introducing her to this stage many times. I'm pleased to do it now. The president of the Kennedy Library Foundation, Caroline Kennedy.
CAROLINE KENNEDY, NIECE OF SENATOR KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Vice president and all of the speakers tonight for the gifts of Teddy that you have given to all of us. Thank you, Vicki, for loving him with all your heart for so many years, bringing him so much happiness.
To Kara, Teddy, Patrick, Kiki, Kara and Caroline, you're making him so proud, bringing him so much joy. To Gene, I know you've lost your soul mate, because you and Teddy lit each others' lives for your whole entire lives. And all your nieces and nephews are here to help you as best we can.
Welcome to this library that Teddy built and brought to life with his spirit and dedication to public service. As many of you know, over the last few years, or really, for most of my semi-adult life -- one of my part-time jobs has been introducing Teddy to crowds of people who already knew him incredibly well.
C. KENNEDY: Although this was unbelievably stressful for me, it was just another one of the gifts that he gave me.
When he saw that I was nervous, he would give me a pat on the back. When he knew that I was said, he would call up and say: "I have got a great idea. There's a convention coming up. And maybe you would like to introduce me."
C. KENNEDY: And off I would go on another adventure in public speaking.
But, no matter how nervous I was, I always knew that, when I stepped down from the podium, I would get a big kiss and hear him whisper, "Now I'm going to get you back." And I can't believe that's not going to happen tonight. The other night, after Vicki called, Ed and I went outside. It was a beautiful summer night. The moon had set. There was no wind. The sea was calm and the stars were out.
I looked up, and there was this one star hanging low in the sky that was just bigger than all the rest and brighter than all the rest, with a twinkle and a sparkle louder than all the others.
I know it was Jupiter, but it was acting a lot like Teddy.
C. KENNEDY: His colleagues have spoken tonight about his work, his devotion to the Senate, the joy he took in helping others, his thoughtfulness and compassion, his inspirational courage, and his commitment to the ideals of peace and justice that his brothers gave their lives for and that he fought for his entire career.
In our family, we were lucky to see his passion, his self- discipline and his generosity of heart every single day. He had a special relationship with each of his 28 nieces and nephews and with the 60 people who called him Great Uncle Teddy. He was there for every baptism, every school trip to Washington, every graduation, and every wedding with his big heart, his big shoulders, and a big hug.
He knew when we were having a tough time or a great time, and he would just show up and say, it's time to go sailing. He convinced us that we could ace the next test, make the varsity team, win the next race, whether it was sailing or politics.
And it was OK if we didn't, as long as we tried our best. He did it by letting us know that he believed in us, so we should believe in ourselves. He taught by example and with love. He showed us how to keep going, no matter how hard things were, to love each other, no matter how mad we got, and keep working for what we believe in.
He never told us what to do. He just did it himself and we learned from his example. Though it was sometimes overshadowed by his other gifts, Teddy was a creative spirit. He loved painting and singing in the natural world and the sea. He was always looking for new ways to bring people together to make a better world, to get things done.
And he was always doing things that other people could have done, but he was somehow the one who did it. It's as true in the Senate, as we have heard tonight, as it is in our family.
So, I thought I would tell you a little bit about one of the less-known examples, his creation of the annual family history trips. Visiting historical sites is something anyone can do, but Teddy made it into something special.
He realized that a family reunion was wasted if it was just a cookout, so he made it a chance to learn and share the love of history that he got from his mother and Honey Fitz. In my childhood, these trips were relatively simple affairs, an occasional visit to the Nantucket Whaling Museum, or a western Massachusetts campaign swing that included the Crane's paper factory where dollar bills were printed and the studio where Daniel Chester French created the statue of Abraham Lincoln.
And no visit to grandma's house was complete without Teddy's recitation of "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere." When I was young, I thought Teddy was just entertaining us, but, as I grew up, I realized he was passing down his belief that each of us has the chance to change the course of history.
Teddy lived for the future, though he loved the past, though, when a new generation came along, in typical Teddy style, he decided to take it all to a new level. He wanted us all to share his love of being together, his passion for history, and to learn about the sacrifices upon which this country was built, so that we would understand our own opportunities and obligations.
He took this on with enthusiasm and his organizational magic, helped, as always, by the extraordinary team that are all here tonight and will be working for him forever.
C. KENNEDY: Teddy illuminated the world around us and brought the past to life. The trips were open to everyone. And although there was always some pre-trip moaning and groaning among the teenagers, no one ever wanted to stay home.
We visited the monuments of Washington by night, and Mount Vernon by boat. We walked the Civil War battlefields of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Harpers Ferry, and Gettysburg. In Richmond, we saw the Tredegar Iron Works and the church where Patrick Henry made his immortal speak about liberty.
We went to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Valley Forge and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and learned about the Battle of Long Island. But the culmination of this tradition was our trip to Boston.
We took a ride on the Old Cape Railway and learned about the building of the Cape Cod Canal. On the way to Boston, we went to Plymouth Rock. When we got here, we visited the U.S. Constitution saved by Honey Fitz, Bunker Hill, Paul Revere's House, the Old North Church, the Old South Meeting House, the house where grandma was born, and the spot where the Irish immigrants came ashore.
We toured the Kennedy Library and had a picnic at the Boston Harbor Lighthouse. Although the rule for history trips was that they were day trips only, we all knew that, to Teddy, Boston was special. He had a surprise for us, which was that we were going to get to camp -- the chance to camp out on Thompson Island.
He didn't tell us that, for most of the year, this facility is used for juvenile detention until...
C. KENNEDY: ... until after we had set up our tents in the dirt. It was about 98 degrees. The bugs were out. It smelled like low tide all night long. And the planes from Logan were taking off and landing right over our heads.
C. KENNEDY: We figured Teddy was trying to teach us something, but, after a boiling hot 16-hour history day with 20 children under 10, we weren't quite sure what it was.
C. KENNEDY: In any event, that was when Teddy decided that even he had had enough of history, finally, and snuck out under cover of darkness on his secret getaway boat and headed for the Ritz.
C. KENNEDY: Once again, he had it all figured out.
C. KENNEDY: Yesterday, as we drove the same route up from the cape, I thought about all the gifts that Teddy gave us and the incredible journey he took.
I thought about how lucky I am to have traveled some of that journey with him and with all the wonderful people that he embraced, so many of whom are here tonight. I thought about how he touched so many hearts and did so many things that only he could have done.
I thought, too, about all the things he did that we all could do, but we just figured Teddy would do them instead. As we drove through the Boston that he loved, and saw the thousands of people who loved him back, I realized that it was our final history trip together.
Now Teddy has become a part of history. And we have become the ones who have to do all the things he would have done, for us, for each other and for our country.