Aside from those few words we shared at the symposium in 2003, here is my Ted Kennedy memory: 

In 2006, I contacted Kennedy’s office to ask a favor for a dear friend who had spent her life caring for children from war-torn environments. Lynn never forgot how Ted Kennedy convinced an international adoption agency in 1973 to let her adopt a half-starved child from what is now North Korea, in spite of the fact that she was young, single and worked full time as a teacher.

She was a very religious person and had spent a year in Zimbabwe, doing mission work, her own version of a year in the Peace Corps. She came home determined to help  young children who had been left behind as victims of armed conflict, or were simply unwanted in the first place. 

In her mid-twenties, Lynn began adoption procedures while she was engaged to be married, but when marriage plans fell through, she was told didn’t qualify as an adoptive parent.

Determined to adopt a child she had sponsored for through an international charity, Lynn called on the junior senator from Massachusetts for advice. Ted Kennedy talked the agency into letting her complete the adoption.

Thanks to him, she was the first single person in the state to do so. And thanks to him, in 1975 she got special permission to travel to Southeast Asia to bring home a Vietnamese orphan, one of the lucky ones to escape Saigon on one of the last planes out. Later, Lynn adopted more children, all from places rife with war or poverty.  

Click on Read More (below, right) for the rest of this story.

On October 31, 2003, I covered a conference at the JFK Presidential Library in Boston for the Harvard School of Public Health newsletter. Universal health care coverage was topic of the day in Massachusetts, which was considering several plans for the uninsured. The half-day program included a keynote address by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, given to a roomful of insurance, health care and business leaders, plus people from patient advocacy groups, research organizations and universities.

On a break, I caught Ted Kennedy chatting with the focus of my story, economist Robert Blendon, of HSPH. I wanted a candid shot but was too slow and ended up with a very self-conscious one instead, just before Kennedy left. That story, with cropped photo, is available here

The two men were standing in front of the huge bowed window in the library’s meeting room. From there, you get a spectacular view of Boston Harbor and, as you can see, it was a crisp, sunny fall day. 

If the scene looks familiar, it may be because, on that day, Kennedy was standing in the same spot where his coffin would rest almost 6 years later. The entire Kennedy family gathered last week in the same room to bid Ted a final farewell.