Kennedy gives his own account of Chappaquiddick Incident

Full text of Ted Kennedy's televised statement about Chappaquiddick car accident

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Kennedy gives his own account of Chappaquiddick Incident - Text of Kennedy 's Appeal HYANNIS PORT, Mass....
Text of Kennedy 's Appeal HYANNIS PORT, Mass. Wt.' Here is the text of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's broadcast statement statement Friday night: My fellow citizens: I have requested requested this opportunity to talk to the people of Massachusetts about the tragedy which happened happened last Friday evening. This morning I entered a piea of guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Prior to my appearance in court it would have been improper improper for me to comment on these matters, but tonight I am free to tell you what happened and to say what it means to me. In the weekend of July 18 I was on Martha's Vineyard Island Island participating with my nephew, Joe Kennedy, as for 30 years my family has participated, participated, in the annual Edgartown sailing regatta. Only reasons of health prevented my wife from accompanying me. On Chappaquiddick Island off Martha's Vineyard, I attended on Friday evening July 18 a cookout I encouraged and helped sponsor for a devoted group of Kennedy campaign secretaries. When I left the party around 1:15 p.m. I was accompanied by one of these girls, Miss Mary Jo Kopechne. Mary Jo was one of the most devoted members of the staff of Sen. Robert Kennedy. She worked for him for four years, was broken up over his death. For this reason, and because she was such a gentle, kind and idealistic persons, all of us tried to help her feel that she still had a home with the Kennedy family. There is no truth, no truth whatever to the widely circulated circulated suspicions of immoral conduct conduct that have been leveled at my behavior and hers regarding that evening. There has never been a private relationship between between us of any kind. I know of nothing in Mary Jo's conduct on that or any other occasion, and the same is true of the other girls at that party, that would lend any substance to such ugly speculation about their characternor characternor was I driving under the influence of liquor. A little over a mile away the car that I was driving on an unlit unlit road went off a narrow bridge which had no guard rails and was built on a left angle to the road, the car overturned into a deep pond, and immediately filled with water. I remember thinking that as the cold water rushed in around my head that I was for certain drowning. Then water entered my lungs and I actually felt the sensation of drowning. But somehow I struggled struggled to the surface alive. I made immediate and repeated efforts to save Mary Jo by diving diving into the strong and murky current, but succeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion exhaustion and alarm. My conduct and conversation during the next several hours, to the extent that I can remember remember them, make no sense to me at all. My doctors informed that I suffered a cerebral concussion as well as shock. I do not seek to escape responsibility for my actions by placing the blame either either on the physical, emotional trauma brought on by the accident accident or on anyone else. I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the police immediately. Instead of looking directly for a telephone, telephone, after lying exhausted on the grass for an undetermined time, I walked back to the cottage cottage where the party was being held and requested the help of two friends, my cousin Joseph Gargan, and Paul Markham, and directed them to return immediately to the scene with me this was sometime after midnight in order to undertake a new effort to dive down and locate Miss Kopechne. Their strenuous efforts, undertaken undertaken at some risk to their own lives, also proved futile. All kinds of scrambled thoughts, all of them confused, some of them irrational, many of them which I cannot recall, and some of which I would not have seriously seriously entertained under normal circumstances, went through my mind during this period. They were reflected in the various inexplicable, inconsistent-and inconsistent-and inconsistent-and inconsistent-and inconclusive things I said and did, including such questions as whether the girl might still be alive somewhere out of that immediate area, whether some awful curse did hang on all the Kennedys, whether there was some justifiable justifiable reason for me to doubt what had happened and to relay my : report, whether somehow the awful weight of this incredible incredible instant might in some way pass from my shoulders. I was overcome I am frank to say, by a jumble of emotion grief, fear, doubt, torture, panic, confusion, confusion, exhaustion, and shock. I instructed Gargan and Markham not to alarm Mary Jo's friends that night. I had them take me to the ferry crossing, crossing, the ferry having shut down for the night. I suddenly jumped into the water and impulsively swam across, nearly drowning once again in the effort, and returned returned to my hotel about 2 a.m. and collapsed in my room. I remember going out at one point and saying something to the room clerk. In the morning, with my mind somewhat more lucid, I made an effort to call the family legal adviser, Burke Marshall, from a public telephone telephone on the Chappaquiddick side of the ferry, and then belatedly belatedly reported the accident to the Martha's Vinyard police. Today, as I mentioned, I felt morally obligated to plead guilty to the charge of leaving the scene of an accident. No words on my part can possibly express the terrible pain and suffering I feel over his tragic incident. This last weekend has been an agonizing one for me, and for the members of my family, and the grief we feel over the loss of a wonderful friend will remain with us the rest of our lives. These events, the innuendo, the whispers which have surrounded surrounded them, and my admission admission of guilt this morning raise the question in my mind of whether my standing among the people of my state has been so impaired that I should resign my seat in the United States Senate. If at any time the citizens of Massachusetts should lack confidence confidence in their senator's character character or his ability, with or without justification, he could not, in my opinion, adequately perform his duties and should not continue in office. The people of this state, the state which sent John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Charles Sumner, Henry Cabot Lodge, and Jonn Kennedy to tne United States Senate are entitled entitled to renresentation in that body by men who inspire their utmost commence. For this reason I would un derstand full well why some might think it right for me to resign. For me this would be a difficult decision to maKe. it has been seven years since my first election to the Senate. You and I share many memories, some of them glorious:, some have been very sad. The opportunity opportunity to work with you and serve Massachusetts has made my life worthwhile. And so I ask you tonight, the people of Massachusetts, to think this through with me in facing this decision. ' . I seek your advice and opinion opinion in making it. I seek your prayers. For this is a decision that I will have finally to make on my own. It has been written a man does what he must in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles, and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all human morality. And whatever may be the sacrifice he faces if he follows his conscience, conscience, the loss of his friends, his contentment, even the esteem esteem of his fellowmen, each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul. I pray that I can have the courage to make the right de cision. Whatever is decided, whatever the future holds for me, I hope that I shall be able to put this most recent tragedy behind me and make some future future contribution to our state and many kind, whether it be in public or private life. Thank you and good night. VINYL CAR TOP SPECIAL $39.75 XVYN-ALL XVYN-ALL XVYN-ALL SPRAYED ON TEXTURED PURE VINYL 523-1691 523-1691 523-1691

Clipped from
  1. The Atlanta Constitution,
  2. 26 Jul 1969, Sat,
  3. Page 3

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  • Kennedy gives his own account of Chappaquiddick Incident — Full text of Ted Kennedy's televised statement about Chappaquiddick car accident

    staff_reporter – 16 Apr 2018

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