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26 August 2009

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matt

Thanks for sharing your memories - and opinions about Ted Kennedy. Coming from someone with no (federal) government servce in my background, it must be very interesting to know - and be able to reflect upon the fact- that you have had personal interactions with people of legitimate historical import.

Cloned Poster

He deserved many "mulligans" for the brotherly disasters and others that befell a family that was on the way to be a Catholic Royal Family of the Democrats and the USA.

Such is the Kennedy Legacy it is easy to see why he survived politics since the early sixties in the Senate

I am pretty sure he was sober when he wept openly for the Montagnards, he's probably human first and politician second, not many of his type around now.

Jackie

Col.,
Your comments made me tear up a second time today over Teddy. Senator Byrd's statement was the first time.

He wasn't perfect, but who is? He had the peoples best interest at heart.

Cieran

A magnificent epitaph, Colonel, for a great man, by another great man.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your memories with us.

Ken Roberts

Teddy's no more. So, shut the door, and let's sit down to tally the score.
He did good work; he wasn't a jerk. He did his best, and deserves his rest.

William R. Cumming

I walked out of an upper level course as a college junior with a professor to have someone run up to tell us that President Kennedy was shot dead. I was on the parade ground at Ft. Sill Officer Candidate School when the entire OC battalion was told that Senator Kennedy had been shot dead and we were placed on alert status for potential deployment as NCO's for riot duty in major American Cities. From that snowy INAUGRAL in 1961 to this passing of a great Senator should cause all Americans to reflect on the sacrifices and contributions of the children of that scoundrel if ever there was one Joesph Kennedy, Sr. History unfolds but can never be rewritten based on "ifs"! But I can only think "If" and "If" and now that he is gone we can measure Teddy the youngest fully and his contributions long outweighed the tribulations he caused himself, his family and the country. The best thing for me about TEDDY, and I met him once and shook his hand when he spoke as a 1958 graduate of U.VA. School of Law at the Law School Forum, was that he did in fact live a full life! No "ifs"! He lived out his life and fulfilled his obligations to himself, his family, and his country. His sacrifices and contributions certainly earned him the right of burial near his slain brothers at Arlington Cemetary. Arlington is hallowed ground if ever there was in American life. Where I once rode a sleigh in winter on the snow as a child the slope is now filled with the tombstones of all those since those times of swift childhood joy and happiness whom at one time or another were able to give either "the last full measure" or their very best (better than most of the living or me) to their country. God bless the Kennedy Family and the sacrifices and gifts of your selves and family to our country. Only the passage of time will tell whether another family ever makes the same contribution to our democracy (republic)! Personally I doubt it.

Watcher

At 34 I am too young to have known Teddy Kennedy except through school books and the news.

As I watched the accolades to him today, Kipling's "If" came to mind:

"Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools"

and

"If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on"

God Speed.

GulfCoastPirate

Colonel,

If I may, would you care to expound on the statement about his not liking 'men like you'. I'm not quite sure what you mean or why you would think that.

JerseyJeffersonian

A flawed man, to be sure; but despite that, he helped to carry the family torch. Being of Irish immigrant stock, a once despised people, when once the family attained riches and power, they chose to give thought to those less fortunate than themselves, those pariahs of their day. Instead of offering the back of the hand to the hoi polloi as some mean-spirited stratagem to establish their bona fides with the powerful amongst whom they now had a right to be named, they instead offered...a hand up.

Many little stories are coming out of personal kindnesses rendered by Ted, things done away from the glare of publicity, and thus inoculated from cynical dismissal.

Requiescat in pace.

Patrick Lang

Gulfy

As a professional soldier and intelligence man I do not expect to be liked by many. pl

Bobo

A flawed man, are we all not flawed? Unfortunatly his flaws were known to all though many looked past them to see the the better part of the man.

What more can be said of a man when he meets his maker than he did his best to help lift up his fellow man.

I appreciate the anecdote as it adds to the mans humanity.

R.W. Bloomer

I expect I will always have mixed feelings about Edward Kennedy, but I count myself lucky to have read what you had to say about him. Thanks for sharing those thoughts with me.

Nancy K

Colonel Lang, thank you so much for your words. His death has touched me, maybe because I also so clearly remember the deaths of his two brothers. The family gave a lot to our country. I am glad they will be resting togather at Arlington.

Redhand

I disliked him heartily during my long conservative phase but grew to see his merits during the Bush-Cheney years, when I found myself agreeing with his passionate anti-torture stance and desire for real immigration reform. It was quite a shock to find myself in agreement with him 100% time and time again over the last few years.

The worst blot on his life and career has to be Chappaquiddick. I also think he could have been a far better man, and senator, without the alcoholism and gin blossoms. However, he did clean his act up, and his years of positive public service count for a lot in my book.

I think of Ted Kennedy as a near-great man almost destroyed by his flaws, but one who should be judged leniently because the good he did far outweighed the bad.

alnval

Col. Lang:

Thanks. Your memories of Ted Kennedy are moving.

Most of us forget that the oldest son, Joe Jr., was the one groomed by his father to lead. Teddy was fourth in line. He was neither expected nor required to achieve greatness.

Joe Jr. was killed when his Navy Liberator blew up over the English Channel in WWII. Jack was next in line. He was also a naval officer and he survived the South Pacific only to die in Dallas.

Teddy’s election in 1962 to Jack’s seat in the Senate kept the Kennedy name alive in politics. But, even after Jack’s death in 1963 I don’t think anyone ever thought Teddy would be anything but a place-holder. After all there was still Bobby.

After Bobby’s death in LA in 1968 Teddy was the only one left. I think the enormity of that fact both made the man and took a terrible toll. He was lucky to have had good genes.

I’m grateful for the man he became.

Green Zone Cafe

I can tell you from personal experience that his staff was excellent on working for individual veterans.

J

May God comfort his family. Amen.

Patrick Lang

GZC

I am sure that you are right. pl

Mark Stuart

I never reminded him in the course of those briefing meetings that he had met me once before, in Vietnam under terribly difficult conditions.

Colonel:
I just wonder out of sheer human and emotional curiosity why you never felt like telling him about that event?

Respectfully,
ms

Babak Makkinejad

Col. Lang:

I often thought that whether any one could have done much better than him - as a young boy he had 3 older brothers and all that goes with it.

As a young man, he lost them to violent death.

"Heartbreak" does not begin to capture the pain and the agony.

GulfCoastPirate

PL wrote:

'As a professional soldier and intelligence man I do not expect to be liked by many.'

Interesting. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Robert Murray

Well done Col. Lang, thank you. Sen. Kennedy stated that his vote not to go to Iraq was his best.

CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Interview With Edward Kennedy

Aired April 20, 2006 - 21:00 ET


[..]
KENNEDY: No. The best vote I cast in the United States Senate was...

KING: The best?

KENNEDY: The best vote, best vote I cast in the United States Senate (INAUDIBLE).

KING: In your life?

KENNEDY: Absolutely.

KING: Was not to go to Iraq?

KENNEDY: Yes, not to go to Iraq.

KING: Why did you vote against?

KENNEDY: Well, I'm on the Armed Services Committee and I was inclined to support the administration when we started the hearings in the Armed Services Committee. And, it was enormously interesting to me that those that had been -- that were in the armed forces that had served in combat were universally opposed to going.

I mean we had Wes Clark testify in opposition to going to war at that time. You had General Zinni. You had General (INAUDIBLE). You had General Nash. You had the series of different military officials, a number of whom had been involved in the Gulf I War, others involved in Kosovo and had distinguished records in Vietnam, battle-hardened combat military figures. And, virtually all of them said no, this is not going to work and they virtually identified... [..]

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/20/lkl.01.html

Patrick Lang

ms

It seemed to me that it would have been a "cheap" and opportunistic thing to do.

Even now, I will spare you the details. pl

Jose

I never agreed with just about anything he stood for, but admired his courage to stand up for his beliefs.

Few in Congress have that courage now days which is a sad reflection on all of us.

He will be missed.

Col., thank you sharing your experiences with him with dignity unlike what I saw last night on "Harball".

optimax

A transcript of Sen. Kennedy's speech have gave in the senate against giving the president the power to go to war with Iraq is online and worth reading. He knew the administrations reasons for going to war were lies: the cooked intelligence on WMD and SDs connection with al-Quaeda. The msm ignored his speech, preferring to cheer lead the nation into war.

I also think he was right on the need to reform healthcare, something he had proposed for as long as I can remember. Passing a bill named for him would be a fitting memorial.

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