Kennedy sons deliver tributes to their father

Ted Kennedy Jr. described Sen. Edward Kennedy on Saturday as a man of many talents, interests and pursuits, but remembered him mostly as a father who reassured his 12-year son after he lost a leg to cancer.

With his voice cracking at times during his father’s funeral, Ted Kennedy recalled the time shortly after his cancer surgery when he was still getting used to a prosthetic leg. Sen. Kennedy asked his son if he wanted to go sledding on the family’s long driveway in Washington, DC home after a heavy snowfall. Ted, still getting used to his new leg, slipped and started to cry, at which point Sen. Kennedy picked his son up and two struggled up the slick hill together.

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Ted said he got strength and reassurance from his father and knew then that his disability would not stop him from living his life.

Ted said he learned other lessons too from his famous father, "like how to like Republicans." He noted a recent survey by The Hill in which Republican colleagues rated Sen. Kennedy as the number one Democrat in the Senate they liked to work with.

"He always told me, 'Always be ready to compromise, but never compromise your principles.' He was an idealist and a pragmatist. He was restless, but patient. When he learned that a survey of Republican senators named him the Democratic legislator that they most wanted to work with and that John McCain called him the most effective member of the U.S. Senate, he was so proud."

Ted, a healthcare attorney and advocate for the disabled, also noted his father’s many interests: sailing, dogs, the arts, friendships. He described his father as an active and interested man always ready to try new things.

"Our family vacations left us all injured and exhausted," Ted said.

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) mentioned working with this father on a mental health parity bill.

“I will really miss working with Dad,” Congressman Kennedy said.