Eunice Kennedy Shriver died yesterday.
To call the Kennedy family influential is kind of like calling Coca-Cola a pretty big company, and Ms. Shriver was born into that. She didn’t have choices in whether she had that power or not, she simply did. What she was free to choose was where to point that power, and most agree that she chose well in founding Special Olympics. The New York Times quoted a 1993 Newsweek article in their obituary linked above:
When the full judgment of the Kennedy legacy is made — including J.F.K.’s Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress, Robert Kennedy’s passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedy’s efforts on health care, workplace reform and refugees — the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential.
This is a video of a song I wrote for the Special Olympics a few years back, with a respectful nod to Mrs. Shriver.
Having volunteered at the Special Olympics, I too have a special place in my heart for Mrs. Shriver.