Official portrait 2006
Doris Kearns Goodwin, a respected historian, was interviewed yesterday about Sen. Edward Kennedy, who had just died. She told an apocryphal story.
When JFK was elected president, he gave his youngest brother a cigarette case inscribed "And the last shall be first". She pointed out the prophetic aspect of this quote.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many are called, but few chosen. Matthew 20:16
Now, I've heard the second part of this quote"...many are called, but few are chosen." ascribed to the Kennedys many times, I'd never heard this story.
She went on to describe how Ted Kennedy was called "Caboose" by his brothers and family. He was the last in a line of accomplished Kennedy men. It is ironic, as Ms. Kearns pointed out, he was the only one to live out his life, to achieve his full potential in spite of all the tragedy, and to carry the burdens of the Kennedy family on his shoulders. " So the last shall be first". Ironic indeed.
Kennedy Brothers, Hyannis Port, circa 1960