The Associated Press
Recollections by Edward M. Kennedy's sons, Ted Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Kennedy, at their father's funeral Saturday in Massachusetts, as transcribed by CQ Transcriptions.
TED KENNEDY JR., the eldest son:
"When I was 12 years old, I was diagnosed with bone cancer. And a few months after I lost my leg, there was a heavy snowfall over my childhood home outside of Washington, D.C. And my father went to the garage to get the old Flexible Flyer and asked me if I wanted to go sledding down the steep driveway.
"And I was trying to get used to my new artificial leg. And the hill was covered with ice and snow. And it wasn't easy for me to walk. And the hill was very slick. And as I struggled to walk, I slipped and I fell on the ice. And I started to cry and I said, 'I can't do this.' I said, 'I'll never be able to climb up that hill.'
"And he lifted me up in his strong, gentle arms and said something I will never forget. He said, 'I know you can do it. There is nothing that you can't do. We're going to climb that hill together, even if it takes us all day.'
"Sure enough, he held me around my waist and we slowly made it to the top. And you know, at age 12 losing your leg pretty much seems like the end of the world. But as I climbed on to his back and we flew down the hill that day, I knew he was right. I knew I was going to be OK.
"You see, my father taught me that even our most profound losses are survivable, and that is - it is what we do with that loss, our abilityto transform it into a positive event, that is one of my father's greatest lessons.
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY, D-R.I
"As a little kid, I didn't look like much of a sailor, but my dad thought otherwise. You see, in sailing, there are rules as well, much like government, tireless, mundane rules, that will surely make you sea sick.
"The rule was four people on a boat to race, just four. But my dad, of course, dug around until he found a rule around the rule. Sound familiar to you, those who serve in the Senate? Kids under 12 he found out, especially scrawny little redheads like me, could tag along.
"My dad found that rule that meshed with his mission. He refused to leave me behind. He did that for all of those around the world who needed a special voice as well. When we raced in foul weather, there was lots of salt water and lots of salty language. Those experiences not only broadened my vocabulary, sure, but they also built my self-confidence.
"I saw a lot of his political philosophy in those sail boat races. One thing I noticed was that on the boat, as in this country, there was a role for everybody, a place for everybody to contribute.
"Second, in the race, as in life, it didn't matter how strong the forces against you were, so long as you kept driving forward. There was nothing to lose. Maybe you would even come out a winner.
"My dad was never bowed. He never gave up and there was no quit in dad."