The Kennedy family's set up a site for people to browse at pictures of Senator Kennedy, read speeches and his biography, as well as share memories. Sharing memories is perhaps the best thing to do when someone passes and, with Senator Kennedy, there's a lot of memories to share.
I remembered insisting on my mother winning an autographed picture of Kennedy when I was in elementary school (yes, I've always been a political junkie), at our school's talent show. I kept raising my hand over and over again and my mother indulged, even though the $25 it eventually cost was real money to her, as a single parent working the night shift. That's a memory I look back at and laugh -- I'll have to look around to find that old photo.
That said, the memory I keep flashing back toward was the first time I got to listen to him speak in person and shake his hand. I was at an Al Gore rally in Boston, right near where Rose Kennedy was born in the North End, in the midst of the 2000 election. A bunch of people from my Political Action Club in High School volunteered to help at the rally. I probably haven't thought about that rally in a few years. It was a relatively small event in the course of my life, but it's taken on much greater meaning today.
Ted Kennedy spoke for us. He fought for us. He fought for that dream, that will ever live on. While many Democrats ran from the scary L word, he embraced it and, in doing so, brought the underprivileged and those discriminated against into our party, the people who now fuel our majority in national government. Without all that Ted Kennedy's done, who knows if we'd have a President Obama -- the seeds Kennedy planted set the stage for our success today well before Kennedy's endorsement ever lifted Obama's campaign over the Clintons. Kennedy's legislative accomplishments, as well as his fierce and tireless work on behalf of the most important issues of our life, will live on forever as our collective memory of Senator Ted Kennedy.