"He was a man with, among other things, a great gift for friendship. He was a guy born with a lot of advantages, and then maximized his ability to use them on behalf of other people. He was a very powerful, wealthy guy who would reach out to help others in ways that are really very unusual in politics — politics tends to be a kind of jealous business — and Sen. Kennedy really was above that in ways that almost nobody else was." Representative Barney Frank
On my way back from work last week I decided to stop by the house in Brookline, Massachusetts where President Kennedy was born. Even though it was about 7:00 PM and this national historic site had closed at 4:30, a National Park Ranger was still there to greet people who had come to leave flowers and sign a condolence book for the family of Senator Ted Kennedy.
I spent some minutes talking with the Ranger about the Kennedy family. I was somewhat surprised that a family which touched the world started their journey from a small house in a modest residential area. The Ranger noted that this was the first home for President Kennedy's parents. They lived here until 1920 but moved to a larger house after four of the children were born. John Kennedy was born in the house in 1917.
Although, Ted Kennedy had never lived in the Beals Street house, this was a place where neighbors from near and far came when they learned that Senator Kennedy had died after his year-long battle with cancer. Like many others who arrived here after hearing the news, I was drawn by a sense of both sadness for the loss of a great man and gratitude for a family who never looked on their wealth as way to wall themselves away from others. Instead they offered a life of service for the nation and the world.
As I stood on the porch, I wrote down my thoughts in the condolence book about our favorite senator and what he's meant to me over the years. Here at the Kennedy house on Beals Street there were no crowds; it was a peaceful way to remember Ted and the family that has given so much for our country.