Exhibit B: The Lion's Den
Day in and day out for nearly 50 years, Ted Kennedy strode into Room 317 of the Russell Senate building in Washington, DC, and got down to work. But he always kept reminders of his personal life close at hand, as seen in this photograph taken on August 26, the day after he died. The contents of Kennedy’s office were finally boxed up last month and sent to his family, leaving the space a blank slate for the ambitions of his successor.
A. Flag bearing the Kennedy family crest, featuring three golden helmets. In Gaelic, Kennedy means "man with helmet," and the senator often joked that anyone working in politics had better wear one.
B. Model of Kennedy’s beloved 50-foot schooner, Mya. The model was a gift from his staff for what would be his last birthday.
C. Painting of his Portuguese water dogs, Sunny and Splash. "Those dogs would go everywhere with him," says Senator John Kerry. In fact, Splash sat through the markup for the No Child Left Behind bill, Kennedy once noted.
D. Full collection of books by the Kennedys, such as JFK’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Profiles in Courage, Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s The Riverkeepers, and Caroline Kennedy’s anthologies of poetry.
E. Framed family notes, including one written by a 14-year-old JFK to his parents, asking them to let him be the godfather of his new baby brother, Ted.
F. Desk and family photos. Kennedy worked at the same desk that his brother Jack had used when he was a senator.
G. March 25, 2002, issue of The Nation. Its cover story on Ted Kennedy, titled "The Senate’s Fighting Liberal," concludes with a 1958 letter Joe Kennedy Sr. had sent a friend whose son had died; after 9/11, Ted sent a copy of that letter to the father of a World Trade Center victim. It reads: When one of your loved ones goes out of your life, you think of what he might have done for a few more years, and you wonder what you are going to do with the rest of yours. Then one day, because there is a world to be lived in, you find yourself a part of it, trying to accomplish something—something he did not have time to do. And, perhaps, that is the reason for it all. I hope so.
-Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images