RIP Senator Kennedy

There is a small cafeteria right off the floor of the US Senate where only Senators and their guests are allowed to eat. In 1974 former U.S. Senator Tom Eagleton took me there on my first day of new staff orientation. Sitting mostly by themselves, ignoring each other while reading newspapers or simply enjoying “down time” sat U.S. Senators Jacob Javitz, Ed Brooke, Frank Church, Ed Muskie, Birch Bayh, Hubert Humphrey, Gaylord Nelson, Barry Goldwater, Alan Cranston, Walter Mondale, Robert Byrd, Bob Dole and Ted Kennedy.

Sen. Kennedy was sitting at the table next to ours minding his own business. Suddenly, he jumped out of his chair to greet five young boys who had just entered the restaurant. The Senator was smiling, shaking hands and beckoning for a Senate photographer. Soon the photographer arrived and each Senator took a picture with and received an autograph from these young boys. I did not immediately recognize these young boys until Senator Kennedy introduced us to the Jackson Five.

As we mourn the passing of Senator Kennedy, I will remember this silly incident where Senator Kennedy became the “adoring fan” of a group of young entertainers. Most of his life Senator Kennedy was the person who the public asked for photos with and sign autographs. I was fortunate to see a quick glimpse of a different side of this likeable and powerful public servant.

Rest in Peace Senator Kennedy! We will miss your leadership. One can only hope that Congress will soon agree on the health reform provisions that you so diligently fought for throughout your distinguished career, and hopefully when that day comes, it will cause you to smile in heaven!


Thank you Steve for sharing this story! Whenever you share a story the reader and/or listener feels like they are in that exact moment! Telling stories is one of your many strengths Steve Roling. You know I can see the young senator now grinning from ear to ear greeting the Jackson Five. What a neat moment to witness. Senator Kennedy spent his whole life fighting for the poor and under privileged. We are all better citizens and activist because of his leadership and commitment to the betterment of the American people. Healthcare reform will happen and ever American will have adequate health care because of Senator Kennedy and others who fight hard for this important basic human right. Steve, hopefully Senator Kennedy will not only being smiling but doing cartwheels heaven too. Keep up the good fight health care activist and advocates!!!!!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6><img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.

About Me

Steve Roling

Steve Roling

Steve Roling is the President/CEO of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Each week he blogs about issues that inspire him as we work toward eliminating barriers to quality health.