Lessons from the Kennedys

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Another classic G. George Ostrom column. This one George picked out from June 1968...

One thousand six hundred fifty-nine days ago I sat in this worn out chair and wrote a column that contained such passages as these:

“… madness ignited in a sick mind may have ended the physical life … but the things he planned, and the things he dreamed, and the things he fought for are not ended with a 10 cent bullet.”

“Those who preach hate and sow the seeds of distrust, those who would in their ignorance and frustration point with suspicious fingers at all who disagree with them. Those who seek scapegoats and accuse without evidence, those who take advantage of the weak… these are the ones who are truly dying…”

“The man is gone, his ideals are not, and those of us who admired, respected and loved him are many. We are grieved and from our grief will come strength. We are angry and from our anger will come determination. We are confused and from our confusion will come wisdom. We are bitter and from our bitterness will come patience. In our days and our children’s days, we shall never forget the name or the man, John F. Kennedy.”

That’s what I wrote that one thousand six hundred fifty-nine days ago, and I also commented, “I only hope such a column will never have to be written again.”

Ironically, it comes to pass that my hope for no more columns like that one in November of 1963 is not to be.

Another man has been murdered before we really knew what things he could have done. My eyes are dry this time and I’m not sure just why. I grieved, but I am sickened more. I am sad, but the sadness is clouded by almost uncontrollable anger and disgust. Even my heartache for his wife and children is diluted by visions of courage such as two teenage boys carrying their 42 year old father’s body down an airplane ramp.

Unless you’ve ever personally buried a beloved brother shot down in his country’s service, I doubt you can conceive the uncommon courage of Ted Kennedy’s funeral eulogy to his brother.

He said it all and in saying it epitomized what really makes the Kennedys tick. Right or wrong, they have courage, strength and faith far beyond the average.

“Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

That’s the way it is.

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