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Sustained by the memory of our priceless years together, I shall carry forward the special commitment to justice, excellence and courage that distinguished their lives.' It was not to be.The steamroller Kennedy political machine, combined with his popular opposition to the then raging Vietnam War, made him favourite for the 1972 presidential election, but the drunken drive that killed Mary Jo snuffed out his bid.
He followed the classic path of the American elite to law school, graduated and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar. He believed that, like his brothers, he was destined for greatness.
He was immobilised for seven months, but the family's dominance of Massachusetts politics was so powerful that he nevertheless easily won his first re-election.
In 1964, as his brother 'Bobby' Kennedy began to prepare for his own accession to the White House in the 1968 election campaign, the younger Kennedy made his name in the Senate by steering crucial reforms through Washington with President Lyndon Johnson.
As always, Ted used the family name to save his neck.
In any other state but Massachusetts, the Kennedys' home turf, and with any other name, he would have been charged with homicide.
When JFK was assassinated just a year later, Ted was at work on a committee and reportedly stood stunned and unable to move when he heard.
The assassination would prove to be the opening shot in the destruction of the family that in 1960 had held the promise of an era of unprecedented hope in the U. Less than a year after the assassination, Ted experienced his own brush with death in a plane crash. He was left with a permanent back injury, broken ribs and a punctured lung.Instead, he escaped with a slap on the wrist: a two-year suspended sentence and the loss of his driving licence for a year.He had been allowed to plead guilty to no more than the charge of leaving the scene of an accident.But then RFK was gunned down in Los Angeles and Ted Kennedy became head of the family.The shattering blow left him barely able to deliver his brother's funeral eulogy in New York's St Patrick's Cathedral.He said he was haunted by 'irrational' thoughts immediately after the accident, and wondered 'whether some awful curse did actually hang over all the Kennedys'.