Saturday, August 29, 2009
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
I watched the tribute to Edward Kennedy live from the JFK Library in Boston last night. It was a moving celebration of this larger-than-life man's life.
Nobody thankfully, talked about the tragedies that this man had endured in his private life under the spotlight where the critics were and still are, so harshly unforgiving. No one is perfect. This man lost three brothers - one during WW11 and the remaining two, to an assassin's bullet. He came from a family of achievers - a precedent set by a not-so-nice father and had a great deal to live up to. People with far less on their plates have turned to the bottle and women. I am not condoning his somewhat shady past but he did admit publicly to his shortcomings and took full responsibility for his irresponsible actions. When he did get his act together, he turned out to be possibly the greatest Senator of our time.
Last night his family, friends and colleagues and members of both parties told wonderful stories about him that unfortunately never reached the press. Good stories don't always make the newspapers because, let's face it, good news rarely sells newspapers. As one person whom he had helped said 'if only they knew'.
Teddy Kennedy loved to sing. I know all about that coming from Irish stock on my father's side. So when they closed the evening with a wonderful rendition of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" my eyes filled with tears. For the first time during the amazing tribute, I cried. Not only for someone I did not know but for my childhood memories and the memory of my father's eyes filling with tears whenever he sang an Irish ballad, especially when we all broke out into "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling".