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August 31, 2009

eulogy for ted kennedy

We cannot know for certain how long we have here. We cannot foresee the trials or misfortunes that will test us along the way. We cannot know what God's plan is for us.

What we can do is to live out our lives as best we can with purpose, and with love, and with joy. We can use each day to show those who are closest to us how much we care about them, and treat others with the kindness and respect that we wish for ourselves. We can learn from our mistakes and grow from our failures. And we can strive at all costs to make a better world, so that someday, if we are blessed with the chance to look back on our time here, we can know that we spent it well; that we made a difference; that our fleeting presence had a lasting impact on the lives of others.

This is how Ted Kennedy lived. This is his legacy. He once said as has already been mentioned of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, and I imagine he would say the same about himself. The greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy's shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy - not for the sake of ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country that he loved.

In the days after September 11th, Teddy made it a point to personally call each one of the 177 families of this state who lost a loved one in the attack. But he didn't stop there. He kept calling and checking up on them. He fought through red tape to get them assistance and grief counseling. He invited them sailing, played with their children, and would write each family a letter whenever the anniversary of that terrible day came along. To one widow, he wrote the following:

"As you know so well, the passage of time never really heals the tragic memory of such a great loss, but we carry on, because we have to, because our loved one would want us to, and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us."

We carry on.

Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those that he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good that he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image - the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled; smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for whatever storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon. May God Bless Ted Kennedy, and may he rest in eternal peace.

Barack Obama

Posted by amin at 1:21 PM

August 28, 2009

henry clay

Clay's quick intelligence and sympathy, and his irreproachable conduct in youth, explain his precocious prominence in public affairs. In his persuasiveness as an orator and his charming personality lay the secret of his power. He early trained himself in the art of speech-making, in the forest, the field and even the barn, with horse and ox for audience. By contemporaries his voice was declared to be the finest musical instrument that they ever heard. His eloquence was in turn majestic, fierce, playful, insinuating; his gesticulation natural, vivid, large, powerful.

In public he was of magnificent bearing, possessing the true oratorical temperament, the nervous exaltation that makes the orator feel and appear a superior being, transfusing his thought, passion and will into the mind and heart of the listener; but his imagination frequently ran away with his understanding, while his imperious temper and ardent combativeness hurried him and his party into disadvantageous positions. The ease, also, with which he outshone men of vastly greater learning lured him from the task of intense and arduous study. His speeches were characterized by skill of statement, ingenious grouping of facts, fervent diction, and ardent patriotism; sometimes by biting sarcasm, but also by superficial research, half-knowledge and an unwillingness to reason a proposition to its logical results.

In private, his never-failing courtesy, his agreeable manners and a noble and generous heart for all who needed protection against the powerful or the lawless, endeared him to hosts of friends. His popularity was as great and as inexhaustible among his neighbors as among his fellow-citizens generally. He pronounced upon himself a just judgment when he wrote: 'If any one desires to know the leading and paramount object of my public life, the preservation of this Union will furnish him the key.

Carl Schurz on Henry Clay

Posted by amin at 7:32 PM

August 16, 2009

spiritual winds

O Lord Who is our Sustainer, we believe in You and we have faith in the truth of the prophets which You have sent to us. We know that the holy among Your servants and the spiritual levels reach to the light by light, yet even fools who sometimes wish to reach the lights, leaving the light for darkness and following the dark path to the light become a lesson for the wise and give light to their understanding, and become the cause for their high rank and closeness to God. Those spiritual winds which You send for them lead them to the highest stations where all they do is glorify the light on Your Face, carry the holy books, hold onto the wings of the angels, embrace the rays of the lights, drawing them upwards, and hope to attain intimacy with God with the help of these marvelous and solitary states. These are the ones who withdraw to the heavens yet appear in this world. O Divine One, awaken the souls buried in tombs of unconsciousness so that they remember and glorify You. Give us the full share of our lot of knowledge and patience as these are the source of all virtue. Give us the gift being pleased with that which is destined for us. Let the illumination by the pure light of the soul be our path and let the selfless brotherhood of faith be our companion. You are the one who gives only good to all the universes through Your generosity and munificence. God is the best of all helpers. God’s salutations, pleasure, peace, and blessings be upon His Holly Prophet.

Suhrawardi – The Shape of Light

Posted by amin at 9:16 PM