Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Only Kennedy I Ever Met Has Died -- Eunice Kennedy Shriver

I'm very saddened to hear of the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She is the only Kennedy I ever met and I cherish the memory.

She founded the Special Olympics. A Special Olympics was scheduled for almost my back yard in the early 80's, at Fort Lewis, and I knew I had to be there to support and celebrate it.

As luck would have it, I was seated in a row immediately in front of Eunice. Because of this, I took the opportunity to briefly thank her for the service of her entire family to our country and noted that I had recently read her mother's book, TIMES TO REMEMBER -- twice. She lit up when I said that and smiled broadly, "I'll have to be sure and let my mother know that you've read it twice!"

I told her I especially loved Bobby. My voice cracked a little bit when I said it. She nodded, smiled, and said, "Oh, yes... Bobby was very special," in that distinctive Boston accent.

It was hard to believe that I was sitting within arm's length of a Kennedy. For all I know, Maria may have been along, too. Eunice had several close friends or relatives with her, some of them young, but I wasn't looking at anyone beyond Eunice. I remember feeling almost "anointed" to be sitting so close to her... not in a fannish way, but in a sacred way.

The rest of the day is lost to memory except for the faces of the guards who were allowing cars into Fort Lewis for the event. They had their jobs to do, but the one who looked me over and permitted me to drive in smiled when I told him what I was at the Fort for, and said, "Thank you."

It's time for me to say "Thank you" again to a lady who worked tirelessly on behalf of disadvantaged children to give them hope, love, and better lives. The country is a better place because she dedicated her life in such a way.

God bless you, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

I have zero doubt He is...

"Enter into your rest, good and faithful servant."

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