Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sniff. Wish Teddy had lived to see that speech

Office of the Press Secretary

September 9, 2009

Below is the text of the letter from Senator Edward M. Kennedy
referenced by the President in tonight’s address to a Joint Session of

May 12, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

I wanted to write a few final words to you to express my gratitude for
your repeated personal kindnesses to me – and one last time, to salute
your leadership in giving our country back its future and its truth.

On a personal level, you and Michelle reached out to Vicki, to our
family and me in so many different ways. You helped to make these
difficult months a happy time in my life.

You also made it a time of hope for me and for our country.

When I thought of all the years, all the battles, and all the memories
of my long public life, I felt confident in these closing days that
while I will not be there when it happens, you will be the President
who at long last signs into law the health care reform that is the
great unfinished business of our society. For me, this cause stretched
across decades; it has been disappointed, but never finally defeated.
It was the cause of my life. And in the past year, the prospect of
victory sustained me-and the work of achieving it summoned my energy
and determination.

There will be struggles – there always have been – and they are
already underway again. But as we moved forward in these months, I
learned that you will not yield to calls to retreat - that you will
stay with the cause until it is won. I saw your conviction that the
time is now and witnessed your unwavering commitment and understanding
that health care is a decisive issue for our future prosperity. But
you have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material
things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake
are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of
social justice and the character of our country.

And so because of your vision and resolve, I came to believe that
soon, very soon, affordable health coverage will be available to all,
in an America where the state of a family’s health will never again
depend on the amount of a family’s wealth. And while I will not see
the victory, I was able to look forward and know that we will – yes,
we will – fulfill the promise of health care in America as a right and
not a privilege.

In closing, let me say again how proud I was to be part of your
campaign- and proud as well to play a part in the early months of a
new era of high purpose and achievement. I entered public life with a
young President who inspired a generation and the world. It gives me
great hope that as I leave, another young President inspires another
generation and once more on America’s behalf inspires the entire

So, I wrote this to thank you one last time as a friend- and to stand
with you one last time for change and the America we can become.

At the Denver Convention where you were nominated, I said the dream
lives on.

And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will
be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for
generations to come.

With deep respect and abiding affection,

No comments: