​Remembering the Lion of the Senate


U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) gestures as he speaks at George Washington University September 27, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Tomorrow the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate opens in Boston.

When Senator Kennedy died in 2009, I remember writing that as I watched his funeral I had thought of a book I had just read called "The Art of Racing in the Rain," in which the protagonist observes that no race has ever been won on the first turn, but many have ended there.

Senators look back at Ted Kennedy’s legacy 11:23

Ted Kennedy crashed and crashed again during the early turns of his life, but somehow he kept on going, through the sorrows and tragedies over which he had no control and the self-destructiveness over which he did -- and in the final laps, he won.

His children loved him. His contemporaries, even those who often opposed him, admired him. And those whose causes he championed thanked him.

To what else can a man aspire?

The many laws he authored changed the lives of millions. In many ways, he was the classic American hero, the imperfect man who was sorely tested, and yet in that testing found a way to overcome personal flaws and go on to accomplish great things.

You didn't have to agree with his politics to appreciate what he achieved.

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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.