Ted Sorensen

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Ted Sorensen, President Kennedy’s speechwriter and one of his closest aides, died yesterday at the age of 82. During the 15 years I worked at the John F. Kennedy Library, I heard Mr. Sorensen speak many times, but my most treasured memory of him is a meeting he graciously agreed to when I was writing my biography for young readers, John F. Kennedy: His Life and Legacy. Sorensen, as he had done with countless others, shared memories and stories of working with the President.  Among those anecdotes, he told me one of my favorite stories about President Kennedy and one I made sure to include in my book.  Sorensen told me about a long day that he and then Senator Kennedy had on the campaign trail in 1960. It was one of those days, he remembered, when they visited several states and Senator Kennedy had spoken to large crowds at every stop. Sorensen told me that he was tired himself by the time they boarded the campaign plane and could only imagine how exhausted Senator Kennedy was.  But, he told me, (and I remember him smiling at the memory), the two of them sat down, and Sorensen looked over at his seatmate who had just pulled out The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin to read during the flight!  I can clearly remember sitting across Sorensen’s desk and both loving how the story illustrated the President’s interest in history and admiring the person who took such pleasure in sharing it.

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