I'll never forget my friend Heidi Sickler saying to me when I first arrived on Capitol Hill, "You should work for either the king or queen of the democrats," To which I replied, "Who would that be?" With a stunned look she said, "Teddy or Hillary of course."
It was indeed the king, "Uncle Teddy" (as Heidi and I called him) who's office offered me the unforgettable opportunity to become an intern.
Capitol Hill is a perfect place to people watch. I started to learn a lot about people in those hallowed halls. I saw some of what you'd expect, but I also saw kindness.
It's a funny thing trying to define kindness, but as my dear friend Roy Buckalew once told me, "You'll know it when you see it." I saw kindness in Ted Kennedy.
One thing that stood out to me most was at a staffer's going away party his last day working for Senator Kennedy. There was a beautiful painting of a sail boat, elegantly framed on an easel in the middle of the room, and just below the painting on the matting was a note that said something to the effect of, "Marc, thanks for everything you do, all your hard work, but most of all your friendship."
I saw many photos, books, and letters signed by Senators, but a painting - painted by, framed by, and signed by a senator, not to mention the most senior senator, that's one of those things I knew I'd see only once. Kindness........and I knew it when I saw it.
Sometimes it's the little things, the un-broadcasted things, the things done in secret, that say the most about us. My friend, Marc, put on his facebook, "EMK, once told me, the measure of a man is that he used his time well, he was the real-life embodiment of that."
A champion of causes - a champion of the people. He fought for every piece of major legislation to do with human rights and health. He helped our nation more than we can ever even realize. All because he had a conviction for doing what is right by his fellow man and a faith that lead him to believe this was his calling and that he must never give up till the day God takes him home.
He lived life to the fullest, fighting for everyone to have the right to dream the impossible dream. He was most powerful, yet he lead humbly. He believed those words, "To whom much is given much is required." I loved him for all he did, all he stood for, and who I saw him to be. I morn his loss. He will never be replaced or forgotten. What he fought for will endure. May his dream of universal health care - treating all those in need - taking care of the poor - come to fruition. And may his legacy for what he stood for never die. It's time for others to take up the torch and follow his example as he never stopped encouraging us to do. Rest in peace Uncle Teddy.
New York Times Article