Ted Kennedy: Healthcare's lion fought many battles

I always felt a special affection for Sen. Ted Kennedy, growing up as I did as a half-Irish kid in the suburbs of Boston. One thing you could always say about the late Sen. Kennedy was that he was an outsized presence. Not imposing physically, perhaps, but grand, visionary and tenacious--something of the imperious blueblood and something of the Boston street-fighter.

Depending on your political convictions, these qualities may have made him seem a hero or a villain, but he was a full-blooded political figure in an era when few raised their voices. Those qualities made him a born leader in the battles over healthcare that dominated his time.

While some will always remember Sen. Kennedy in terms of his failings--his alcoholism, his infamous episode at Chappaquiddick--he'll also be remember for his endless work on behalf of disenfranchised Americans without adequate healthcare: the mentally ill, children, the poor, people with AIDS and countless others.

While I say that Ted Kennedy was a relic, of a bygone generation that probably won't come again, readers of a more conservative stripe will probably say "good," and that's certainly your right. But even those readers should certainly spend a moment to admire the sheer force of will and dedication of a man who spent his life doing what he thought was right when he could have sat around the family palace and acted the dissolute libertine for life.

At 77 years full of active service to the country, Sen. Ted Kennedy is well remembered as a fighter. I, for one, will do some private political fighting of my own to remember his example. - Anne