Mary Jo Kopechne wasn’t a scion of one of American’s wealthiest families; she was just a girl from an average, middle class family, whose idealism led her to Birmingham, Alabama, during the Civil Rights era, then back north to Washington, D.C., where she eventually ended up as a staffer on Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign.
Ms. Kopechne’s life was tragically cut short on July 18th, 1969. We’ll never know, of course, what direction her life would have taken, but given her apparent passion for politics, she might have become a powerful political figure in her own right. Instead, her parents were left grieving and the man responsible for her death, Senator Ted Kennedy, went on to become the Lion of the Senate.
Much will be said today about Senator Kennedy and so it seems appropriate to stop for a moment and consider this other life and its unfulfilled potential. I, for one, will be praying that Mary Jo is – finally – resting in peace.
Robert Stacy McCain considers A Fitting Memorial.
Update: Melissa Lafsky, writing at the Huffington Post, wonders if Mary Jo might not have thought that trading her life for Kennedy’s career was worth it. I have my doubts.