We bid farewell to a very special women today. Eunice Mary Kennedy Shriver, fifth child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy’s nine children, passed away after a series of strokes. The Kennedy dynasty seems to have had more than it’s fair share of tragedy and Eunice was bright spot in the sorrow.
Of the nine Kennedy children, two were killed airplanes crashes, two were assassinated and one was born mentally impaired. The eldest, Joseph was killed in World War II. Second son became our 35th president and was assassinated in office1963. Rosemary Kennedy underwent a lobotomy at 24 to remove part the part of her brain that was impaired; this left her incapacitated for the rest of her life. Kathleen Kennedy was also killed in a airplane crash and Senator and US Attorney General, Robert Kennedy was shot and killed in his bid for the presidency.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was educated at Stanford in sociology. She worked as a social worker in prison and reform school (juvenile detention center). She worked in Chicago at the House of the Good Shepherd, a mission to help juveniles in trouble. She has crusaded for children’s health care initiatives and programs for disabled children. She founded the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver began the Special Olympics program for handicapped athletes as a tribute to her sister Rosemary. Mrs. Shriver believed that mentally and physcially impaired athlete could and should compete in athletic competition. She believed that it would improve their quality of life and their chance to be part of society. Special Olympics has far exceeded any expectations.
Eunice Kennedy married R. Sargent Shriver, who was the first head of the Peace Corps in 1968. The couple had five children, including Maria Shriver, award-winning journalish and wife of California governor Arnold Schwartzenegger. Eunice Shriver came from a staunchly democratic and even more staunchly Roman Catholic family. Former President Kennedy was the first and only Roman Catholic ever to be elected President. Her husband, R. Sargent Shriver also ran with Sen. George McGovern on the democratic ticket against former President Richard Nixon. Mrs. Shriver, it should be noted was a vocally and actively pro-life democrat, calling upon the democratic party to renounce its pro-choice platform. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was awarded the highest civilian medal in the United States: the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver leaves a legacy of hope, triumph and compassion. Requiescat in Pace.