Patrick Kennedy Among Children Accepting Honor for Father

Patrick Kennedy was among the children of US Senator Edward Kennedy on hand today to accept the United States' highest civilian honor on behalf of their ailing father: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This from a Boston Globe post on the proceedings:

"The life of Senator Edward M. Kennedy has made a difference to us all," the president said.

Senator Kennedy, fighting brain cancer and grieving his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver, did not attend to receive the nation's highest civilian honor in person.

In his stead, several family members were present: Kennedy's sons, Ted Kennedy, Jr., and Representative Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island; Ted Kennedy, Jr.'s wife, Kiki; and Caroline and Curran Raclin, the children of Kennedy's wife, Vicki Reggie Kennedy. 

"For more than four decades, Senator Edward M. Kennedy has boldly fought for equal opportunity, fairness, and justice for all Americans," an aide read aloud as Obama presented an emotional Kara Kennedy a case containing the medal. "In his tireless quest for a more perfect union, Senator Kennedy has reformed our schools, strengthened our civil rights, helped seniors and working families, lifted up the poor, and worked to ensure that every American has access to quality and affordable healthcare. With volumes of laws bearing his name and countless lives touched by his extraordinary passion, Senator Kennedy has accumulated several lifetimes’ worth of achievements. The United States proudly recognizes this righteous citizen, devout public servant, and giant among men."

Coming on the heels of Shriver's death, the ceremony presents a powerful reminder of one family's extraordinary contribution to public life in the United States. And with the elder generation passing, a new focus on the next generation. Tough shoes to fill.

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