Very few people ever get to be called “champion.” Few deserve the label. A champion is one who lifts up others. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who passed away on Aug.11, was a champion. Here are a few comments and passages from those who sang her praises at the various memorial services:
Loretta Claiborne, a longtime friend of Eunice Shriver’s, and a former Special Olympics Athlete, said at Shriver’s funeral mass: “She was chosen to have a life to serve others—the weakest of the weak, the castaways, the throwaways of society, at the time they would say the “mentally retarded.” And I am one of those people.”
Russell Contreras, an Associated Press writer, interviewed the mother of another Special Olympian who praised Shriver for helping to “open doors.”
“We gained freedom from hiding,” she said.
President Barack Obama said: “Above all, she will be remembered as the founder of the Special Olympics, as a champion for the people with intellectual disabilities, and as an extraordinary woman who, as much as anyone, taught our nation-and our world-that no physical or mental barrier can restrain the power of the human spirit.”
Years ago, during an interview with Charlie Rose, Ted Kennedy recounted how his brother Jack had made the claim that their sister Eunice had the best political instincts in the family (second only to himself). At an event held in her honor in 2007, Sen. Kennedy said of his sister, “She had the sense no one should be left out or left behind.”