Did you see the tribute to Ted Kennedy last night at the convention?  Caroline delivered a moving, touching speech leading up to it, describing “Uncle Teddy” as a man who never missed a first communion, graduation or other celebration in the family and never hesitated to walk any of his nieces down the aisle for their weddings — a sad testimony to the tragedies that family has endured.  Ted has had to be father not only to his own three children, but to the other 13 left by his brothers following their assassinations.

But more than that, Teddy delivered a moving speech himself.  “For me, this is a season of hope.”  “Barack Obama will close the book on the old politics of race, gender, and group against group, and straight against gay.”  “The hope rises again, and the dream lives on.”

There wasn’t a dry eye on that stage and the Kennedy clan that was there was also moved to tears by “Uncle Teddy” as well.

Lord knows I’ve had my share of fun at Mr. Kennedy’s expense — “We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” and other irreverent zingers.  But Ted Kennedy has been at the forefront of very important issues in this country and his work “for the people” can be said to have positively affected every American — issues such as minimum wage, the environment, education finance, education, and even the war in Iraq.

And here’s the thing — right, wrong or indifferent, I don’t think Mr. Kennedy’s patriotism can ever be questioned.  While he was raised with the value “There’s sex and there’s marriage and the two don’t go together,” (an old axiom of his father’s) he was also raised with the belief that “…to those to whom much has been given, much is expected.”  The Kennedy family has always been about public service, service to others, and leadership.

I can honestly say that, watching Caroline’s tribute and watching “Uncle Teddy” speak, I was moved to tears.