NEW YORK - Theodore "Ted" Sorensen lived a full life until his death at 82 years old. Even after a stroke where Mr. Sorensen lost his vision, he was still full of zest for life.
The last time I saw Mr. Theodore "Ted" Sorensen was a little over a year ago in October 2009 in Greenwich, CT. His Excellency Ambassador Joseph Verner Reed and The Honorable Theodore C. Sorensen were presented with the Roots of Peace Global Citizen Awards. He savored every moment of that day from speaking to walking with his wife and autographing copies of his book, "Counselor."
Princess Diana's "appreciation for the gift of life" and commitment to "global demining" served as a central motivation to Roots of Peace Founder Heidi Kühn. Roots of Peace has a global "mines to vines" initiative where mines are "de-mined" and replaced with grape vines which serve to rebuild communities. These communities where fields were once deadly areas filled with mines are transformed into a self-sustaining solution. The grape vines planted become the source of financial sustenance and build up a country's economy, one community at a time.
Maria Luisa M. Reyes, the daughter of the late Ambassador Luis Moreno Salcedo (former permanent representative of The Philippines to the United Nations who served in New York from 1982-1985), shared the stage with Mr. Theodore "Ted" Sorensen as the Director of International Relations for Roots of Peace. On the Roots of Peace website (http://www.rootsofpeace.org/blog/2009/07/bayat-foundation-afghan-sympos.html), Heidi Kühn explains how she met Ms. Reyes, "Over ten years ago, I made a telephone call from the basement of our family home to the 38th floor of the United Nations, the Executive Office of the U.N. Secretary-General. Maria "took my call" with an idea born in the heart of a mother. From there, she took the concept of MINES TO VINES to the ears of Mrs. Gillian Sorensen, former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General. Throughout the years, we earned the active support of His Excellencies Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon. Today a bright light adorns our Roots of Peace headquarters, as Ms. Reyes is now Director for International Relations."
Mr. Sorensen is best remembered as counselor and speech writer for U.S. President John F. Kennedy. In a New York Times video interview, He said that [as a speechwriter] he has played a very important role but not the deciding role.
Looking back at last year's Roots of Peace event, I realize now more than then that presenting Mr. Sorensen with the Global Citizen Award was fitting. His words of encouragement cut across borders, ethnicities, and nationalities.
We will all remember Ted Sorensen for the words that challenged and continues to challenge Americans and people worlwide, "...Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." (Text by Richard M. Reyes)
(L-R) Gillian Sorensen, Theodore "Ted" Sorensen, Ms. Maria Luisa M. Reyes at the Roots of Peace event in Greenwich, CT where Mr. Sorensen received the Global Citizen Award (Photo/Richard M. Reyes).
UPDATE: The above photo now appears on the Roots of Peace website (http://www.rootsofpeace.org/blog/2010/11/in-tribute-to-ted-sorensen.html#more)