Family, friends and former staff came together Wednesday to honor the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy as he was inducted into the Labor Hall of Honor.
Former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman recalled the senator being late to an event and being reprimanded by his older sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. After the incident, one of his staff gave him a look which prompted the senator to say, “Oh, so you’ve got a big sister too?” “He may have been Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s little brother, but for us, he was always … a hero of a man,” Herman added.
“He had this spirit of compassion. He just did not like seeing other people treated unfairly,” former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., his youngest son, recalled.
Patrick Kennedy also joked about his father’s staff being a literal family. “You were in our house, you were using our bathrooms,” he said.
President Barack Obama sent in a video tribute to the event. When he heard about the honor, his response was, “What, he’s not already there?”
Up last was Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.
Perez recalled the senator’s ability to make friends on both sides of the aisle. He recalled Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., telling Kennedy, “I like you; I just don’t like what you stand for.”
Perez ended his tribute by echoing Kennedy’s most famous speech, at the 1980 Democratic National Convention, which he later referenced in a 2008 speech at that year’s DNC.
“Because of all of you, the work does indeed go on. … Because of Sen. Kennedy, the dream shall never, ever die.”
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