"Today we say goodbye to the youngest child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. The world will long remember their son Edward as the heir to a weighty legacy; a champion for those who had none; the soul of the Democratic party; and the lion of the US Senate - a man whose name graces nearly one thousand laws, and who penned more than 300 himself.
"Ted Kennedy was the baby of the family who became its patriarch; the restless dreamer who became its rock. He lost two siblings by the age of sixteen. He saw two more taken violently from the country that loved them. He said goodbye to his beloved sister, Eunice, in the final days of his own life. He narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible.
"It is a string of events that would have broken a lesser man. And it would have been easy for Teddy to let himself become bitter and hardened; to surrender to self-pity and regret; to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. No one would have blamed him for that.
"But that was not Ted Kennedy. As he told us: 'Individual faults and frailties are no excuse to give in and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves.' Through his own suffering, Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others. His life's work was not to champion those with wealth or power or special connections. It was to give a voice to those who were not heard; to add a rung to the ladder of opportunity; to make real the dream of our founding. He was given the gift of time that his brothers were not, and he used that gift to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs as the years would allow.
"And yet, while his causes became deeply personal, his disagreements never did. While he was seen by his fiercest critics as a partisan lightning rod, that is not the prism through which Ted Kennedy saw the world, nor was it the prism through which his colleagues saw him. And that's how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time. He did it by hewing to principle, but also by seeking compromise and common cause -not through deal-making and horse-trading alone, but through friendship, and kindness, and humour.
"There was the famous story of how he won the support of a Texas committee chairman on an immigration bill. Teddy walked into a meeting with a plain manila envelope, and showed only the chairman that it was filled with the Texan's favourite cigars. When the negotiations were going well, he would inch the envelope closer to the chairman. When they weren't, he would pull it back. Before long, the deal was done.
"But though it is Ted Kennedy's historic body of achievements we will remember, it is his giving heart that we will miss. Ted Kennedy was the father who looked after not only his own three children, but John's and Bobby's as well. Shortly after Ted walked Caroline [President Kennedy's daughter] down the aisle and gave her away at the altar, he received a note from Jackie [Kennedy] that read: 'On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to be spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love.'
"He once said of his brother Bobby that he need not be idealised or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, and I imagine he would say the same about himself. The greatest expectations were placed upon his shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became. We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy - not for ambition or vanity; not for wealth or power; but only for the people and the country he loved.
"Ted Kennedy has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of those he has loved and lost. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive, and a single, enduring image - the image of a man on a boat; white mane tousled; smiling broadly as he sails into the wind, ready for what storms may come, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon."
Ted Kennedy's Funeral: President Obama's Eulogy Speech