It is understandable why many people believe John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the most important Irish American. He was the first Catholic president, a trailblazer who visited his family’s ancestral home in Ireland just months before he was fatally shot in Dallas on November 22, 1963.But there would have been no JFK without JPK - his father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy of East Boston.Esteemed historian David Nasaw has just released a 900-page biography of the old man entitled The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy.
"Dad, the work is done." With that poignant note that Congressman Patrick Kennedy left on his father's grave in Arlington, the health care debate drew to a close.
Kennedy was one of hundreds of visitors to Ted Kennedy's grave since the bill was passed and now signed into law.
His widow Vicki spent several hours there on Sunday, and schoolchildren and health advocates all visited to pay tribute.
But it was Patrick's poignant note that symbolized the massive scope of the victory.
He had previously presented President Obama with the 1970 bill his father had drafted for universal health insurance. All these years later, the President that Ted Kennedy handpicked to carry on and try and achieve his dream had delivered.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy had decided not to run for re-election, ending the Kennedy legacy in the Senate and House after almost 60 years.
Kennedy says he wants to spend time building a family instead of building a life in politics.