Having been out of town over the weekend and wrapped up in watching season three of The West Wing, I hadn't heard that Rosemary Kennedy died. I had planned to post today on the 5-4 vote in the Supreme Court pertaining to federal judges, but when TIME arrived in my mailbox this afternoon I felt obligated to comment on the life of Rosemary Kennedy.
Rosemary, the daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, was born Sept. 13, 1918, in Boston, Massachusetts. She was born one year after John F. Kennedy and was the first daughter in the family. Rosemary was born with moderate mental retardation. At the age of 23, Rosemary was given a lobotomy (an effort to prevent scandal for the Kennedy family, if that was even possible) and was institutionalized shortly there after.
Rosemary died with brother Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and her sisters by her side. Of the Kennedy children Rosemary may have left the strongest positive legacy. An organization for the opportunity of mentally retarded children and adults, Special Olympics, was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in Rosemary's honor.
It is ironic that the child that lost the most in effort to prevent scandal for the notorious Kennedy family was actually the child that created the least scandal for the family. As interested as I am in the Kennedy family and as connected as I feel with President Kennedy, it was Rosemary that may have touched my own life the most. I have, in some capacity, been involved with Special Olympics since I was 12, knowing all along that it was the Kennedy family that created such an amazing organization.
"Rosemary was a lifelong jewel to every member of our family," the statement released by Sen. Kennedy's office on behalf of the Kennedy family said. "From her earliest years, her mental retardation was a continuing inspiration to each of us and a powerful source of our family's commitment to do all we can to help all persons with disabilities live full and productive lives."
An inspiration to all--
9/13/18 - 1/7/05