Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate has Special Meaning for Bedford

President Barak Obama
President Barak Obama addressed the dignitaries and guests at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate as members of the Boston Children’s Chorus watched. Courtesy image thanks to the Chorus’s Facebook page

By Julie McCay Turner

Bedford was well-represented at Monday’s dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute at Columbia Point.

Chloe DeMello, Noah Southard, Brad Aldrich and Matthew Bridgeman left Bedford at 4:30 in the morning so that they would be ready to sing with the Boston Children’s Chorus during the dedication. Although the day was long and cold, nothing could surpass the chorus’s amazement and delight at singing in such close proximity to the President of the United States.

The chorus sang a compelling arrangement of Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land is Your Land,” including all of the song’s verses, many of which are unfamiliar to audiences today. According to Wikipedia, the now-popular folk song was written “in critical response to Irving Berlin’s God Bless America, which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent.”

With appreciation to C-Span, here is the video of the Boston Children’s Chorus singing at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate.

Bedford residents Brian and Alma Hart worked tirelessly with Senator Kennedy to secure passage of a bill requiring armored protection for vehicles and tanks after their son Pfc. John Hart and another soldier died in Iraq (in 2003) when their unprotected Humvee was ambushed by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Brian and Alma Hart, outside the replica of Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office at the EMK Institute, along with the Brian Hart's quote that is installed on a plaque. Courtesy image
Brian and Alma Hart, outside the replica of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s office at the EMK Institute, along with the Brian Hart’s quote that is installed on a plaque. Courtesy image

A quote from Brian Hart about the across-the-aisle collaboration to mandate sufficient armor for troops and combat vehicles hangs on the wall outside the replica of the Senator’s office.

“Alma and I had a chance to say hello again to Sen. John McCain [at the dedication]” said Hart. “McCain swung the four votes on the second day to fund the Kennedy amendment.”  The amendment added $213 million for armored Humvees to the 2005 supplemental spending bill that allocated $81 billion for the Iraq war.

“We froze in a security line in the snow near dawn and were locked in a replica of the US Senate `chamber for 4 hours by the Secret Service,” said Hart. “We were packed into a crowd at first of strangers, only to find friends a-plenty. … Today we met and re-met our living history,” he concluded, “It was on balance an interesting day.”

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