In August we witnessed the death of two giants; former president of South Korea Mr. Kim Jae-Dung and Senator Edward Kennedy. Each of these men was truly a giant in his own right.
President Kim Jae-Dung, advocator of democracy who was a political prisoner before he finally becoming the president of South Korea. He guided South Korea to the path of democracy that also brought economic growth and prosperity.
President Kim Jae-Dung also was a great advocate for unification of North and South Korea and helped to improve the relationship between the two countries enabling the citizens of the two countries travel to the other side to visit their loved ones.
His passion for democracy and the sacrifice that he made brought much love and respect by the South Koreans as well as throughout the world.
Senator Edward Kennedy was not only a legend in the US, but also throughout the world. Senator Kennedy’s political accomplishments are too many to mention in this article. He sponsored hundreds of bills that became the laws of the land. Most of his concentration was to help the needy, the sick, the poor, the disabled, and the minorities. He had a keen understanding of what these classes were experiencing, perhaps it was because of his own family experience of being discriminated as Irish immigrants or having a child with disabilities. Whatever the reason, Senator Kennedy never stopped caring and helping these groups which needed help the most. His lifetime dream was to reform the health care system so everyone could have free access to national health care. Unfortunately time worked against him.
Senator Kennedy had a talent to maintain civility and seek cooperation of the opposing side, but yet managed to air his views and disagree with Republican administrations and his Republican colleagues.
During his lifetime, Senator Kennedy was loved, respected by his supporters, and also was ridiculed by his opponents who did not like his progressive and liberal views and policies. Although Senator Kennedy was names as the Liberal Lion of the Senate, but he always managed to be close to his republican colleagues in the House of Senate who disagreed with his views, but respected him and considered him a friend. Senator Kennedy had a talent to maintain civility and seek cooperation of the opposing side, but yet managed to air his views and disagree with Republican administrations and his Republican colleagues. Although he was well qualified to take the leadership of the house of Senate, but he never sought such position and found his role as just a senator from Massachusetts quite adequate and fulfilling. He believed that he would be most effective in that role, which was proven to be true.
Senator Kennedy’s personal life was a roller coaster filled with tragedies and happy times. His older brother Joe Kennedy died in World War II while serving his country. He witnessed tragic public assassination of both his brothers, President John Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. He became father to his brothers’ children and the elder of the Kennedy family carrying the torch. His auto accident at Chappaquiddick and death of his female companion left an indelible mark on his personal and professional life. Tragedy even got closer when his son was diagnosed with cancer and had to have one of his leg amputated at age 12 and other son suffering from another type of disease must have been heartbreaking. Death of Jacqueline Kennedy and tragic death of John Kennedy Jr., were other tragic moments in his life that he had to live with. His divorce as well as other tragedies in the Kennedy family is other dark moments that could derail anyone. Despite all these tragedies and obstacles, Senator Kennedy managed to not only be an effective and loving father and uncle, but also a great senator for his state and the country.
President Kim Jae-Dung and Senator Edward Kennedy each while having a tough and tragic life managed to rise to the occasion and serve their respective country.