We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post, which is at no additional cost to you. :)
Eunice Shriver passed away this week. She was famous for many things, not the least of which included being the sister to President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Senator Ted Kennedy. She is also the mother of Maria Shriver Schwarzenegger and mother-in-law of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as being mother to four others and grandmother to nineteen!
It’s the major accomplishments she, herself, helped to bring to fruition that have earned my admiration. Thanks to her experience with another sibling, her mentally disabled sister, Rosemary, she made the needs of those with disabilities a vital priority for her life.
She was instrumental in accomplishing tremendous strides on their behalf. According to Joseph Shapiro writing for NPR, “President Kennedy set up research centers on mental retardation. Robert Kennedy inspected squalid state mental institutions. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) helped write the Americans with Disabilities Act. And it was Eunice Kennedy Shriver who was always on the phone nagging her more famous brothers to take action. He shared this quote by Mrs. Shriver, “I had enormous affection for Rosie,” Shriver says. “If I [had] never met Rosemary, never known anything about handicapped children, how would I have ever found out? Because nobody accepted them anyplace.” “
Eunice Shriver’s family issued a statement upon her death which I found at Wikipedia. Included in that statement were these wonderful words, “Inspired by her love of God, her devotion to her family, and her relentless belief in the dignity and worth of every human life, she worked without ceasing – searching, pushing, demanding, hoping for change. She was a living prayer, a living advocate, a living center of power. She set out to change the world and to change us, and she did that and more. She founded the movement that became Special Olympics, the largest movement for acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in the history of the world. Her work transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, and they in turn are her living legacy.”
As a grandmother of grandkids with special needs and a friend of several families dealing with a wide variety of special needs, including Down Syndrome, I want to take this moment to say a HUGE THANK YOU to this woman and others like her who have made our world a better place and a bit more friendly to all those with special needs.
Our precious grandchildren can live at home, attend school – both in special ed classes and in mainstream classes, participate in fun events like the Special Olympics, and many can even live somewhat independently. As a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, I am old enough to remember when all of these would have been considered impossible. But thanks to so many special people – pioneers! – including Eunice Shriver, I have also been blessed to watch as so many of these changes have come about.
Another reason I am appreciative of her was her strong stance on behalf of all life at all stages. That included those children not yet born! According to Michael Foust in the Baptist Press, “while she was a lifelong advocate of the intellectually disabled she also was an abortion opponent, and she saw her two positions as being closely aligned…She wasn’t quiet about her pro-life views and consistently promoted adoption.”
It’s nice to have such a good example for our grandkids to look up to. When my grandchildren need to write a biography for someone for a school project, I’m going to add her name to my list of suggestions for them.
Don’t forget to check out The Surrendered Scribe for more News Headlines and Current Events commentary.