Noonan on Reagan and Kennedy: 'Grace Met Grace'

How two political families forged a friendship across the aisle
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2009 6:53 AM CDT
Noonan on Reagan and Kennedy: 'Grace Met Grace'
In this June 24, 1985, file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., talks with President Ronald Reagan as they look over an American Eagle that graced President John F. Kennedy's desk.   (AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi, File)

Peggy Noonan recounts the unlikely friendship of the Kennedys and the Reagans and the time "grace met grace"—when President Reagan ventured to Ted's house in 1985 to make a speech honoring JFK and raise money for his new library. "A friendship that had already begun deepened," writes Noonan in the Wall Street Journal.

Noonan reprints the speech, which she wrote and in which Reagan praises JFK as a great man who captured "the imagination and the spirit of the time." Reagan also admits he'd voted for the "other fellow. But you know, it's true: When the battle's over and the ground is cooled, well, it's then that you see the opposing general's valor." The next day, Ted sent him a gracious handwritten note, calling his presence a "magnificent tribute" to his brother. "I only wish Jack could have been there, too." (More Ted Kennedy stories.)

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