Ted Stevens

August 11th, 2010

“He loved Alaska with all his heart. He was a guiding light through Statehood and the development of the 49th State. Now that light is gone but the warmth and radiance of his life and his work will shine forever in the last frontier. His legacy is the 49th star on the American flag.”  — Stevens family statement


Yesterday, Ted Stevens in a plane crash was killed.

This evening’s news with his accolades are filled.


I didn’t like him, but would  never have wished him harm,

And so heard the news of his death with alarm.


He served his state and country for many years

(And also occasionally himself, it appears).


But I was taught not to speak ill of the dead,

So I’ll say something nice about him instead.


Stevens was passionate, and exploded several times on the House floor,

Which people don’t do so much anymore.


He provided late-night comics with lots of amusement

When he didn’t know what the internet meant.


Like other old school politicians, he wasn’t shy about bringing home the bacon,

And all Alaska is by his death shaken.


Stevens unabashedly funneled billions to his state,

Which Alaska’s voters thought was great.


(He was the one who funding for the “Bridge to Nowhere” dispensed,

Which then Governor Palin was for before she was against.)


The crash site was so far away

That rescuers weren’t able to reach it until today.


In addition to Stevens, four others lost their lives.

I’m glad the teenage kid survives.


(I’ve got two teenagers of my own, you see,

Whose lives mean more than my own to me.)


Stevens survived a plane crash in Alaska 32 years ago.

Five (including Stevens’ first wife) were killed in that crash also.


Alaska had and still has many wild, untamed spaces—

Small planes are still necessary to get lots of places.


(In fact, one of Stevens’ legacies was federal subsidy allocations

That made air travel possible to over 50 remote state locations.)


Unfortunately, Stevens also joins a long list of names

Of politicians and celebrities who have died in small planes.


(It’s dangerous, traveling around all the time,

Especially when you’re leaving the ground all the time.)


We all die, and are mourned by those we knew,

But Stevens will be mourned by more than a few.


He will be mourned by those from both sides of the aisle,

Especially since Holder reversed the result of his trial.


And he will be mourned and showered with accolades

By the State he served in the Senate for four decades.

***

Here’s the breaking AP report on the crash. Read Former Sen. Stevens dies in Alaska plane crash; 5 fatalities reported (WashingtonPost.com 8/10/10 5:24 p.m.) for more details.

Here’s a 1978 news report of an earlier plane crash Stevens was in. Five people were killed in that crash, including Stevens’ wife. They were on their way home to get ready for their daughter’s wedding.

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