I grew up in a "Kennedy" household, so Senator Kennedy's death has been much on my mind --- along with memories of his two older brothers. Pretty much anything that's needed to be said has been said, although of course that won't stop me from making two points.
First: The "end of an era"? I don't think so. In many ways, I think we're only beginning to see the fruits of the Kennedy "legacy" that has unfolded over the past thirty years. Think of all the contributions from women who no longer need to think "No, I can't," and are passing that idea on to their own kids.
From every African-American who thought "Yes, I can" --- and made sure the next generation did, too.
From all those kids who didn't die in Viet Nam and so helped raise the next generation.
From every person who lived in a wheelchair, found doors that opened, and so were able to contribute to the world's well-being.
My second point is more of a question: How many of the nation's elected officials --- senators, representative, state legislators, governors --- watched all those thousands of people file past the coffin and wait hours for the hearse and stand outside the church, and, as they watched, asked themselves
If I die tomorrow, will anyone wait hours to see my body? Will anyone stand at attention as my hearse passes by? Will thousands of people who never met me mourn my death? Am I a leader who strives for the good of all, or am I working only for the enrichment of myself? And which is the mark of greatness?