and a member of the Democratic Party
. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history. For many years the most prominent living member of the Kennedy family
, he was the last surviving son of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr.
; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy
and Senator Robert F. Kennedy
, both victims of assassination, and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
, killed in action in World War II; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy
Kennedy entered the Senate in a November 1962 special election
to fill the seat once held by his brother John.
If we set the precedent of limiting the First Amendment, in order to protect the sensibilities of those who are offended by flag burning, what will we say the next time someone is offended by some other minority view, or by some other person's exercise of the freedom the Constitution is supposed to protect?
My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here. And nothing — nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight. I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals, and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.
For me this is a season of hope -- new hope for a justice and fair prosperity for the many, and not just for the few — new hope. And this is the cause of my life — new hope that we will break the old gridlock and guarantee that every American — north, south, east, west, young, old — will have decent, quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege.
We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John F. Kennedy|John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn't say, "It's too far to get there. We shouldn't even try." Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.