The late Senator Edward Kennedy’s family and friends marked the first anniversary of the Lion of the Senate’s death on Thursday by celebrating Mass at his local Cape Cod church and by renaming a nearby health center in his honor.
The newly renamed Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester (formerly the Great Brook Valley Health Center) was a fitting tribute to his father’s lifelong commitment to expanding access to health care, the senator’s son, Edward Junior, said.
‘I wanted to do something that would highlight an aspect of his life or a cause that he really believed in, as opposed to dwelling on the melancholy and the sadness of today,’ he told the press on Thursday. ‘Instead of a sad day, it really is going to be a great moment in celebration of my father.’
At the renaming ceremony, member of the health center including staff members, patients, and political dignitaries observed a moment of silence and then joined in a spirited rendition of ‘This Land is Your Land,’ a Kennedy favorite.
‘I can’t believe that a year has passed, and I’m not one to fixate on anniversaries,’ Kennedy Junior said. ‘I think about him all the time and that hasn’t changed. And in my family, we’re not big on celebrating deaths.’
The family is now focused on construction of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, in Dorchester, Kennedy Junior said.
Meanwhile, Kennedy Junior, a lawyer who lives in Connecticut, said he also thinks about becoming the next member of his famous clan to run for office.
‘I’ve thought about that, not as a way to continue to my father’s legacy, because that would be a very difficult thing to do because my father was such a legislative giant,’ he told the press. ‘It would be in my own time and in my own way, as an activist for people with disabilities and somebody who’s a health care expert.’
Kennedy Junior added, ‘I don’t know what my future will hold, but I come from a tradition of public service and we’ll have to see where that takes me. I think politics is exciting. I saw how much gratification my father got out of it. He thought being a senator for Massachusetts was the greatest honor in the world.’