One of Life’s Great Lessons

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September 5, 2009 6:08 p.m.

I found Ted Kennedy’s funeral and all the events and memorials surrounding it very moving. But at the time and since it’s been this passage from Ted Kennedy, Jr.’s remarks at the funeral that I find most moving and most emblematic of the man …

During the summer months, when I was growing up, my father would arrive late in the afternoon from Washington on Fridays and as soon as he got to Cape Cod he would want to go straight out and practice sailing maneuvers on the Victura in anticipation of that weekend’s races. And we’d be out late and the sun would be setting and family dinner would be getting cold and we’d still be out there practicing our jibes and our spinnaker sets long after everyone else had gone ashore.

Well, one night, not another boat in sight on the summer sea and I asked him, ‘Why are we always the last ones on the water?’

‘Teddy,’ he said, ‘You see, most of the other sailors that we race against are smarter and more talented than we are, but the reason that we are going to win is that we will work harder than them and we will be better prepared.’ And he just wasn’t talking about boating. My father admired perseverance. My father believed that to do a job effectively required a tremendous amount of time and effort.

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