Monday, August 25, 2008

Sen. Ted Kennedy's Speech at the Democratic National Convention

In what may well be his last appearance on the national stage, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) gave an extraordinary speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver tonight.

It was quite a moment. I've been watching these conventions for 40 years, and I've never seen anything like it.

Sen. Kennedy, who is suffering from a malignant brain tumor, literally came from the hospital to address the convention.

Kennedy flew to Denver Sunday night, and his first stop was a hospital, where doctors examined him. His physicians were advising the Senator against the convention appearance. They were especially worried about his exposure to crowds, given the weakness of his immune system after weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Sen. Kennedy's appearance was to have been on tape, after a tribute by his niece, Caroline Kennedy. Instead, the Senator overrode all medical advice to the contrary and came in person.

"There is extraordinary power in a 'last hurrah'," wrote my friend Thomas Bishop on social news sharing site Digg. "Anna Quindlen once wrote 'Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.'

"I think that as death becomes near, we see old battles from a new perspective and they take on new meaning and richness," Bishop continued. "We see the challenges and struggles of our friends and our adversaries, and realize they are not so different from our own. We see how our experiences, even the difficult ones, served us and others. And like Ted Kennedy tonight, we tend to see and speak with conviction as to what is actually valuable and worth passing forward, and we tend to see all that is precious with an increasing clarity -- because we are about to leave it."

"The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on." ~ Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, August 25, 2008