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美国20世纪最伟大的100篇演讲Ted Kennedy - Eulogy for Robert Kennedy

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AmericanRhetoric.com


Edward M. Kennedy:
Eulogy for Robert F. Kennedy


AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED:
Text
version below
transcribed
directly
from
audio

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Mr. President:

On behalf of Mrs. Kennedy, her children, the parents and sisters of Robert
Kennedy, I want
to
express what we feel
to
those who mourn with us today in this Cathedral and around the
world.


We loved him as a brother, and as a father, and as a son. From his parents, and from his
older brothers and sisters Joe
and Kathleen and Jack he
received an
inspiration which he
passed on to all of us. He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty,
and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side.


Love is not an easy feeling to put
into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But
he was all of
these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely.

A few years back, Robert Kennedy wrote some
words about his own
father which expresses
the way we in his family felt about
him. He said
of what
his father meant
to
him, and I quote:
"What
it really all adds up to is love not
love as it
is described with such facility in popular
magazines, but
the kind of love that is affection
and respect, order and encouragement, and
support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real
love
is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not
help but profit from it."
And he continued, "Beneath
it all, he has tried to engender a social conscience. There were
wrongs which needed attention. There were people who were poor and needed
help. And we
have a responsibility to
them and to
this country. Through no
virtues and accomplishments of
our own, we have been fortunate enough
to be born
in the United States under the most
comfortable conditions. We,
therefore,
have a responsibility to others who are less well off."


That is what Robert
Kennedy was given. What
he leaves to
us is what
he said, what he did,
and what he stood for. A speech he made to the young people of South
Africa on
their Day of
Affirmation
in 1966 sums it
up the best, and I would like to read it now:

"There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments
repress their people. millions are trapped
in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth
is
lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but
they are the common works
of man. They reflect
the imperfection of human
justice, the inadequacy of human
compassion,
our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember even
if only for a time that
those who live with
us are our brothers. that
they share with
us
the same short moment of life. that
they seek as
we do
nothing
but
the chance to live
out
their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment
they can.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
1



AmericanRhetoric.com


Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin
to
teach
us
something.
Surely, we
can learn, at
least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And
surely we can begin
to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in
our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. The answer is to
rely on youth not
a
time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance
of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and
obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not
yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn
slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who
prefer the illusion of security to the excitement
and danger that come with
even
the most
peaceful progress.

It
is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has
had
thrust
upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived.
Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against
the enormous array of
the world's ills. Yet
many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed
from the work of a single man. A young monk began
the Protestant reformation. a young
general extended an empire from Macedonia to
the borders of the earth. a young woman
reclaimed the territory of France. and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New
World, and the 32 yearold
Thomas Jefferson who
claimed that
"all men are created equal."


These men moved the world, and so can we all.
Few will
have the greatness to bend history
itself, but
each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all
those
acts will
be written
the history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of
courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each
time a man stands up for an ideal, or
acts to
improve the lot of others, or strikes out
against
injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of
hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring,
those
ripples build a current
that can
sweep down
the
mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the
wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great
intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that
yields most painfully to
change.
And I believe that in
this generation
those with the courage to
enter the moral
conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.


For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of
personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the
privilege of education. But
that is not
the road history has marked out
for us. Like it or not,
we live in
times of danger and uncertainty. But
they are also
more open
to the creative energy
of men
than any other time in
history. All of us will
ultimately be judged, and as the years
pass we will
surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world
society and the extent
to which our ideals and goals
have shaped that event.

The future does not belong to those who are content with
today, apathetic toward common
problems and their fellow
man alike, timid and fearful
in the face of new
ideas and bold
projects. Rather it will belong to those who can
blend vision, reason and courage in a personal
commitment
to
the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
2



AmericanRhetoric.com


Our future may lie beyond our vision, but
it is not completely beyond our control. It is the
shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history,
but the work of our own
hands, matched to reason and principle,
that will determine our
destiny. There is pride in
that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any
event, it is the only way we can live."

That is the way he lived. That
is what
he leaves us.

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what
he was in life, to be
remembered simply as a good and decent
man,
who saw wrong and tried to right
it, saw
suffering and tried to
heal
it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to
his rest
today, pray that what
he was to
us
and what he wished for others will
some day come to pass for all the world.


As
he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought
to
touch
him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not."


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Copyright Status: Restricted, seek permission.
Page
3


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