Just over a month ago I wrote a post about the loss of an American sailing icon, Walter Cronkite, and tonight it’s sad to think about the loss of another, Senator Edward Kennedy.
The above photo was taken in 2004 aboard the schooner Aurora in Newport, RI when I was executive director of the American Sail Training Association. We arranged a morning sail for a youth group from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center and invited our local Congressman Patrick Kennedy to experience sail training first hand. Without advance notice Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy showed up at the dock too. He came aboard to meet the young people and share his enthusiasm and passion for sailing. As we departed the harbor, he sailed passed us at the helm of his beautiful schooner Mya.
Over the years I had several occasions to meet with the Senator and every time impressed me more. They say this about all great leaders, but when you were in his presence you really felt that he was totally focused on you and what you had to say. Of course, our brief meetings were always about tall ships and sailing, topics that were very important to him. As a student of leadership, I often reflect back on my very short, yet impactful experiences with the Senator and am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time with him.