Obama on the Death of Senator Ted Kennedy

I just got this email from President Obama – he drops me a note on occasion (well, I’m on his mailing list :) – on the loss of Ted Kennedy. What a legacy that Kennedy family has left us.

Velcrow — Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy. For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts. His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education’s promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me. In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that’s one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy. I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I’ve benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom. His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we’ve all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives. For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today — to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family. Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still. Sincerely, President Barack Obama

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Revolution of the Spirit

I’m excited to show you this new video I’ve just completed, featuring Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and Alan Clements, the first American ordained as a Buddhist monk in Burma. It’s also one of the DVD extras on the new Fierce Light DVD, launching in Canada this Monday, August 24, with screenings in Toronto and Vancouver. http://www.fiercelight.org/events

LANTERNS OF MEMORY

Lanterns of Memory

Featuring Hiroshima survivor, Kae Goh Ogura

With text by Martin Luther King Jr.

Directed and photographed by Velcrow Ripper

Filmed in Hiroshima, Aug. 6, 2001

Here’s a short film I did called "Lanterns of Memory" about this day, August 6, sixty-four years ago, when we dropped the Atomic bomb on HIroshima.

This film became part of my feature documentary about my journey to the ground zero’s of the world, Scared Sacred.