The life, work and legacy of Ted Kennedy are vivid reminders that it is possible to remain passionate and committed to one's worldview and still inspire love, respect and gratitude from those in opposition [Sept. 7]. Through Kennedy's example, we can see that graciousness and a spirit of compromise can accomplish wonderful things and that lives can be redeemed at any point. Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck and others, take note. Ron Kuhlmann, DANVILLE, CALIF.
When I recently heard Kennedy was dying, my thoughts went immediately to Mary Jo Kopechne, the 28-year-old schoolteacher and former assistant to his brother Bobby who drowned when Kennedy drove his car off a bridge. Rather than call for help, he hid out until the next morning. When Kennedy died, I could have, and maybe should have, been more sympathetic. I should not have yelled out, "You lived 40 years longer than she did, Kennedy!" But all I can think about is that July 18, 1969, night. If he by some miracle should see Kopechne in heaven, he should apologize profusely. Stewart Perry, WAYZATA, MINN.
As Southeast Asian Immigrants, my family owes Kennedy a debt of gratitude. Because of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that he helped pass, we were able to come to this country many years ago and build a new life. His countless good deeds on behalf of the common man will reverberate in our nation's soul. The best tribute his colleagues in Congress can bestow is the health-care-reform bill that was his life's cause and that he worked so hard for but, sadly, did not live to see enacted. Farewell to a true patriot. Cheers Echevarria-Leary, PINOLE, CALIF.
Why would you use a youthful shot of Kennedy with an airbrushed glow surrounding him? Is the suggestion that we should exalt him somehow? Kennedy was a handsome elder statesman and a wonderful Senator--but not a saint. David Moore, SILVER SPRING, MD.
Who is this grim, gray-faced man? Where are the smile, the twinkling eyes, the great white mane of hair? Virginia Duquette, CENTERVILLE, MASS.
Senator Kennedy had the economic and political clout to challenge the powerful on behalf of the powerless and did so many times. To me, an African American who grew up in the South and was inspired--at times emboldened--by the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Kennedys, he did even more. Like King and like his brothers John and Robert, Ted spoke truth to power, but when black folk in the South who thought themselves powerless were moved to action by his message, he spoke truth to impotence and generated power. David L. Evans, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.
The More Things Change ...
Re "How the Taliban Thrives" [Sept. 7]: Our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is comparable to placing one's hand in a pail of water. When you stick your hand into the water, you create an effect. When you pull it out, the water returns to its original state. While we occupy those countries, we suffer casualties and financial disaster. Once we leave, everything will return to the way it was before: tribal wars, Muslim traditions and culture. We will have accomplished nothing. You cannot change thousand-year-old cultures into democratic states in a few years. It takes decades, even centuries for cultures to evolve into advanced political systems. Frosty Wooldridge, GOLDEN, COLO.
Workin' 9 to 6