Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sen. Edward Kennedy 1932-2009

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


Baino said...

A sadly prophetic verse indeed. Despite the troubles he'd had he was a worthy campaigner. It's the end of an era really isn't it?

Ruth said...

I wonder what his brother meant by having that quote inscribed for him. He was the youngest, so "the last shall be last" would also apply. On so many levels, this family was extraordinary. To have lived through all the tragic stories - including his own - and remain focused took profound strength.

Nancy said...

I had never heard this story. Wow. I continue to be amazed at how things are known when they can't possibly be known.

Deborah said...

What a poignant story. I suspect his influence and achievements as a senator are far more enduring than what he might have been able to accomplish had he ever been President. A remarkable man.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I missed DKG's interview. What an extraordinary man Sen. Kennedy was. I feel so sad at his passing...our country won't be the same without him.

Judy said...

Thanks for sharing that. I'm glad to be just old enough to appreciate the Kennedy's.

Debo Hobo said...

It is a sad day for aout nation

Anonymous said...

I always thought the Kennedy family were special and I was sad when Ted died. I watched most of the services on television.

Thanks for your visit to my Pick a Peck of Pixels Blog and for your comment there about wearing long underwear. Pick a Peck of Pixels


by Cole Scott