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Remembering Teddy on Home Turf
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy joined South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade on March 17, 1964. Inclement weather failed to dampen the spirits. (AP)

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy joined South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade on March 17, 1964. Inclement weather failed to dampen the spirits. (AP)

Ted Kennedy left a big mark on a big country. But his most intimate compass settings were within a half-day’s sail of Boston.

Harvard and Hyannis. A debate in Southie. A death in Chappaquiddick. Friends and foes and New England supporters, right back through his brothers and father’s and grandfather’s generation.

Now the last of those brothers is gone. JFK. Robert Kennedy. Senator Ted Kennedy, dead at 77.

This hour, open phone lines to Ted Kennedy’s home turf. We’re going local, to the heart of Kennedy country.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic.

Kevin Cullen, columnist and longtime reporter for The Boston Globe.

Steve Brown, WBUR reporter and news host, joining us from Hyannisport.

Sacha Pfeiffer, WBUR reporter, joining us from Martha’s Vineyard.

See full coverage of Ted Kennedy from WBUR, and a timeline of his life from NPR.org.

Watch a slideshow of Ted Kennedy’s life in pictures:


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  • Joanna Baker

    Today I wear one of my mother’s political buttons from her collection. It reads “I (heart) Ted”. My mother became active in politics, as so many of her generation did, as a “Kennedy Democrat”. I volunteered on many a Democratic campaign long before I reached voting age. I majored in Political Science in college. I went to hear Teddy Kennedy speak on the Columbia University campus in the late 70′s or early ’80′s when he made an important policy speech. I voted for him in the first presidential campaign in which I was eligible to vote; proudly completing an absentee primary ballot for his nomination in 1980 from NYC. When I think, as I am now, in my later 40′s, of what I haven’t accomplished in my life, I think of what he did in his later life. What any of us dreams, we can accomplish, and overcome our failings and take the licks we deserve.

    Thank you, WBUR, for offering the extra hour of Morning Edition this morning to continue to cover the death of Teddy Kennedy. As your editor said this morning, he was, and always will be, My Senator.

    Bless his soul and legacy and may everyone who is touched by his life or death do one extra thing this week that moves his agenda, whether it is human rights, veterans being treated with dignity, health care, education, women’s equality, disabled people’s rights, forward.

  • Gary

    Let’s get this straight…senators do nothing but bloviate. They don’t “set up” OSHA or “enable” healthcare for poor families or “create” the Americans for Disabilities Act. Other people—usually in some existing bureaucracy in the administration–do the heavy lifting and actually implement these orders handed down from Capitol Hill. Senators sit on useless subcommittees, shout orders at their staffs, patronize witnesses who are dragged in front of their feckless Senate subcommittees, play to the camera to look like “they’re doing something for the American people” following whatever is the latest financial scandal or military fiasco (usually a scandal or fiasco in which they had a hand in facilitating via their vote of approval), appear on “Meet the Press” to sound erudite and, well, senatorial, all in an effort to bide their time to become president one day.

    One thing senators do do well is deplete the Treasury of the greatest wealth ever created by past and current generations of Americans in a short 40 year-period and take out a $100 trillion mortgage for future generations to pay. Oh yeah, Kennedy was a senator all that time.

  • jeffet

    Gary despite your spewing forth misinformation on how government works do you not think that having common decency towards the Kennedy family and those of us who want to morn him is in order.

    I’m not sure what your political leanings are and I don’t care. This kind of post, which you have done twice now, is in poor taste, period. “Have You No Sense of Decency”
    –Joseph N. Welch

  • jeff

    I agree jeffet, you (colectively) have lost your “Ronald Reagan” and I will extend you a greater courtesy than you did us when our valiant leader passed.

  • Elizabeth Stengel

    I was privileged to work with “Senator Ted,” when I served for several years as the Exec Dir of the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals. In ’03, MA teaching hospitals and med schools recommended that the Association of American Medical Colleges (academic medicine’s nat’l association) honor the Sen. w/the Champion of Medical Education award at a ceremony attended by medical leaders from across the country. While he was pleased, he was particularly touched by the 4 med students and young physicians present who each provided living proof that without his sponsorship of legislation providing scholarships and loans for underprivileged students, they would not today be living their dreams of going to med school and providing care at health centers and clinics in the nation’s poorest communities. To the Senator, the award was about them, not him. At the end of the ceremony, instead of yet another plaque of which he had hundreds, EMK was given a white coat, received by all 1st year med students as a symbol of their entrance to the physician profession. He was proud, delighted, and visibly moved during his short remarks, which focused on the importance of life-saving hospital care to his own family. Later that year, after Congress finally passed legislation restoring millions of dollars cut by the Balanced Budget Act, Kennedy called his health care staff together for a “thank you” picture, but not before calling for his white coat.

  • Rod

    Lets remember the man for his accomplishments.
    My sincere condolences to the family.

  • http://None Imelda Murphy

    Ted & Me

    Summer day
    down in Boston
    walking by when I saw him
    large and tanned
    face a bit wrinkled

    I greeted him
    and he asked me
    “What are you doing here
    wearing your pearls with
    that hard hat and Irish accent”

    I’m following them
    down there in those
    tunnels, the Irish
    I’ve been looking all over the
    place for you, where were you?
    Down in DC he said

    Tell me your story
    call Barbara she will
    give you an appointment
    He gave me her number
    We took some photos
    his strong arm around me
    Pearls shinning
    Then he walked slowly to the
    Union Oyster House restaurant

  • Rob

    I would first give my personal condolences to the Kennedy family and those who knew the former Senator pesonally.

    As a Senator, I believe Sen. Kennedy will be remembered as one of the last old shool dealmakers (e.g. Lyndon Johnson, Everett Dirkson,), Bob Dole, Baker, Pat Monyihan, etc…) who was political pragmatist above all else. He was an effective and pragmatic US Senator, who was respected for his legislative skills by members of both political parties (whether we agree or disagree with his politics).
    However, as a human being, I will remember Sen. Kennedy very differently. I have a difficult time referring to an adult (e.g. he was 38 at the time) who plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident where a young lady died as a “great man”. After crashing his off a bridge to Chappaquidick MA almost 40 years ago, Mr. Kennedy chose to cover his “political rear” by leaving the scene of the accident (and left a young lady either dead or to die without properly notifying authorities until 10 hours after the accident). As a matter of legal record, Mr. Kennedy plead guilty to the crime of leaving the scene of an accident (and in my opinion only managed to avoid prison because of his family’s political connections). This is hardly the action of a “great man” or a profile in courage or human character!!

  • http://bmerc.bu.edu Temple Smith

    Sen Kennedy help me arrange to get one of my graduate student’s father out of the old Soviet Union. She had left to further her higher education, which was limited there as she was Jewish. The USSR goverment punished her father by taking away his job as an electric power plant manager, for her having left. Kennedy arrange for me to meet the head of the USSR’s national science academy on his visit to Boston, to whom I, in secret, pass on her father’s name. One month latter both my student’ parents were allow to leave. This the kind of man he was, this clearly had political risks, but that did not matter, there was an injustice.

    Temple F. Smith, PhD
    Boston University

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