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Posted: August 28, 2009 12:00 a.m.

The last brick of Camelot

"Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot. Ask ev'ry person if he's heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
Called Camelot"

- from Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot"

Wednesday morning when we were sipping our first drink of coffee and reading our favorite papers, we heard of the death of Edward "Ted" Kennedy. Although his death did not come as a shock as did those of his brothers, it still caught our attention and brought back many thoughts of the nicknamed Lion of the Senate.

We are sure that many of you as younger people were caught up with the dream of Camelot - a mythical place where everything was perfect and in order and was eventually destroyed by distrust and tragedy.

Not unlike what happened when John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas and Robert Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles.

For those who were alive in this period of time, many welcomed the beginning of the Kennedy legacy as a youthful and exciting promise after the "father knows best" Eisenhower years. The hope and vitality of a generation was brought to its knees with the two unexpected, horrendous deaths of John and Robert. The tragedies spaced some six years apart almost annihilated the luster of Camelot. The vestige of hope was transferred to the shoulders of Edward Kennedy.

On that fateful day in Chappaquiddick, the last wall of Camelot came crashing down.

On the day he allegedly left a young woman to drown in an overturned car in a canal in Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy not only destroyed the lives of one family, but he put a nail in the heart of any dream of serving as president.

His status as a Kennedy afforded him the ability to move on from that incident and he certainly served his state in the Senate for the rest of his life. To his credit he stayed true to his beliefs and fought hard for them. That is admirable whether or not you agreed with his philosophies.

Some might say his greatest accomplishments were his works on behalf of civil rights and health care. Diehard Republicans can even find merit in his 1980 bid for the Democratic nominee for president saying it saved the country from four more years of the Carter presidency.

No matter what you think of the Lion of the Senate, his death officially ends an era. Every time we saw him or heard him in the news, our minds drifted back to the vitality of the nation when Camelot had not yet been bruised.

Edward Kennedy is truly an American icon, and unfortunately we do not have too many of those treasures left.


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