Edward “Ted” Kennedy and Rafael Hernández Colón (Former Governor of Puerto Rico): Two great leaders for generations. “Times” magazine recognized the leadership of both, as part of 200 rising leaders, on May 1974. Thanks for the faith in action and the historic contribution, the wise perseverance and the good seeds. The formative mission continues…
· “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die”.
--Edward “Ted” Kennedy
· “When I became president of the Puerto Rico Senate in 1969, the year of Chappaquiddick, I looked for Ted’s leadership in federal affairs and promptly visited him in his Senate office. There was chemistry in our meeting and his office became a necessary stop every time I went to the Capitol. When the matter of the Navy’s bombardment of Culebra came up in 1970 he was on our side. Our friendship deepened throughout the years and it spread to members of his family.
When he decided to challenge President Carter for the nomination of the Democratic Party for the U.S. presidency in 1980 I was at his side. I campaigned for him in the States with heavy Puerto Rican or Latino concentrations and, of course, in Puerto Rico. We waged a hard campaign against a sitting president and against Carlos Romero Barceló, Puerto Rico’s governor at the time, who was supporting Carter. The members of his family were involved. Jackie Kennedy campaigned with me in La Perla in San Juan and in the marqueta in New York. The battle cry of Kennedy in Puerto Rico, ‘a la Victoria’, still resounds in the rallies of the Popular Democratic Party.
Ted lost the race against Carter. This was a crossroads for him. He had been in the Senate for 20 years, more time than most senators, was financially independent and could retire into tranquility while making his contributions to the nation in other less excruciating ways. He chose to remain in the Senate and continue to fight for the causes he believed in: civil rights, healthcare for all Americans, education, in short a quest for justice and equality. A quest to right wrong and heal suffering. It was at the 1980 convention, when he made his concession speech to President Carter, that he spoke the words that he would repeat again in critical moments to inspire his followers and the nation: ‘The work begins anew, the hope rises again, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die’.
Teddy Kennedy went on to become a towering figure in the U.S. Senate; the most influential Senator of the 20th century. He gained the respect and love of senators on both sides of the aisle because he was there not to enjoy power but to pursue in respectful and productive companionship justice and equality; because he fought the good fight without fear of humiliation in defeat. ‘Whether the odds are for me or against me’, he once said, ‘I will continue to fight for the people who sent me’. This is the stuff that great leaders are made of”.
--Rafael Hernández Colón
· ““We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make.”
--Edward “Ted” Kennedy