"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." ~ Dame Agatha Christie

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Contemplating Camelot

"Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment, that was known as Camelot" (lyrics by Lerner and Loewe)

I have spent my life feeling a part of that American phenomenon known as "Camelot"...the generation who heard as children in grade school that we should, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country". As I entered my teens and began to look at my future and how I wanted to serve, I was told, "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?"

I watched in horror as we lost first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and then Robert Kennedy. While losing my innocence in the way I viewed the world, I was still encouraged by the ideals that one person can, like a ripple from a pebble thrown in a pond, make a discernible difference.

As the decades passed, we saw our politicians fall from their pedestals with increasing rapidity. Even a U.S. President resigned. Camelot's children grew and we realized that the younger generation of Kennedys were just as fallible as we "ordinary" folks and that mental and physical problems did not discriminate.

I am not one who believes in "The Kennedy Curse" but I am convinced that the responsibility of a life dedicated to public service opens a person's life--in this media age--to immense amounts of pressure. Human mistakes are magnified. Society would rather publicize the negative and sensationalize those mistakes in judgement and forget the still, small, labor-intensive activities that day-by-day make an enormous impact on our future generations.

Younger Kennedys are still available and can keep the dreams of their dads and uncles alive. There is still hope for this great land. Caroline is an accomplished author. Maria serves as First Lady of California and still works in broadcast journalism, recently on a documentary for HBO on Alzheimer's. Patrick serves Rhode Island in the U.S. House. Kathleen served Virginia well as Lieutenant Governor. Timothy is the chairman of Special Olympics, the organization founded by his mother, the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Robert Jr. is active in environmental projects, especially regarding water pollution.

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die."

Rest in peace, Senator Edward Moore Kennedy...

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