Eunice Kennedy Shriver Changed the World by Gregory Hilton

Many of my friends are associated with fundraising activities for Special Olympics or Best Buddies. Mrs. Shriver has left us but we will never forget her. Hero’s such as Mrs. Shriver are rare not because any single deed was so amazing, but because the culmination of her work changed the world forever. To the Shriver family, thank you for sharing her with us for so many years. She obviously loved her work but she loved you the most.
Jacqueline Kennedy said “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” By her yardstick, Eunice Shriver’s life was a tremendous success. Mrs. Shriver’s stories were wonderful and she was kind to share memories with us. She was a participant in events I could only read about.
In charitable organizations it is common to work closely with people who have a different political outlook. That was obviously true of Mrs. Shriver, and while we did not agree, her observations were always insightful. Our first conversation was in early June of 1992 when Bill Clinton was running third in the polls behind George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. I thought Clinton was a certain loser, but Mrs. Shriver had far more wisdom.
I watched her funeral on C-Span and they re-played some of Mrs. Shriver’s outstanding speeches from the past. Maria Shriver’s eulogy was well done and all four of her son’s head up non-profit organizations.
Mrs. Shriver’s work lives on through Save The Children, Special Olympics, Best Buddies, and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“When the full judgment on the Kennedy legacy is made — including JFK’s Peace Corps, Robert Kennedy’s passion for civil rights and Ted Kennedy’s efforts on health care — the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential,” Harrison Rainie, author of “Growing Up Kennedy,” U.S. News & World Report.
“She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more. She taught us by example and with passion what it means to live a faith-driven life of love and service to others.” – The Washington Post
Michael Barone of AEI: “The Shriver’s took the advantages they had in life, and their disappointments as well, and created two great institutions which will live on and serve people and enrich America for many years to come. The Peace Corps and Special Olympics share an important characteristic: they encourage and enable people to do things that they and those around them might have thought impossible.
“Peace Corps volunteers are empowered to spend two years living and working in a foreign country. Special Olympics participants are empowered to achieve measurable goals. Both teach the lesson that we can exceed limits that seem imposed on us.
“All of us should shed a tear for Eunice Shriver, and for Sargent Shriver too, a tear of happiness and gratitude for what they have given their country and the world.”
“She used her influence not to advance her own interests but to help others, to open a world of new possibilities to a population that had been confined to silence and darkness. Her legacy lives on in the millions of people she empowered to strive on the field of competition and beyond — and to be brave in the attempt.” – The Washington Post

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