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Governor Schwarzenegger’s Tribute to Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Governor Schwarzenegger was KVML’s "Newsmaker of the Day" for Tuesday. Here are his words:

"Hello, this is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

This week, we lost a great humanitarian and leader – someone who changed the lives of millions of people. I am also very proud to say that she was my mother-in-law.

I had the thrill of experiencing Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s gifts first-hand: Her tremendously huge heart; her commitment to equality, inclusion and tolerance; and her passion for service.

Eunice not only believed that each of us can make a difference. She believed that each of us is required to make a difference.

Imagine if we all lived that lesson.

What would this world look like? What problems could be solved? What heartaches could be prevented? What souls could be soothed?

When it came to service, no one was more energetic or persuasive than Eunice Shriver.

She pushed even me to become the national and later on the world, strength-training coach – going around the world and training Special Olympians to make them stronger and to lift more weights.

Before I knew it, every one of my international movie promotions included a press conference or some kind of a Special Olympics event to put the spotlight on Special Olympics and Special Olympians – no matter what country I was in. She was always so enthusiastic.

Eunice always talked about public service also, about it being the most honorable profession and about giving back to the community.

As a matter of fact, she got so excited about me running for Governor in 2003 that she came all the way out to California and she was campaigning for me even though I was a Republican. But that didn’t matter to her, because she knew my heart.

I always felt her love. I always felt a tremendous love from her and her great dedication to me.

And I will never forget of course that life-changing day in 1977, when I met both her and Maria. It was at the Robert F. Kennedy Tennis Tournament and Eunice was so full of energy. She was a force.

She made such a difference in her lifetime, not only in America but around the world. Think about it. The Special Olympics is now in 180 different countries.

Now how many great leaders have had that kind of a global impact?

Think about it. Cesar Chavez was a great leader but he had an impact in California. Martin Luther King had an impact in America. But here Eunice Kennedy Shriver has an impact in 180 different countries. Wow! That is unbelievable.

My family has been hearing from people from around the world about the difference that Eunice has made in their lives. We have heard from so many people.

But personally, I have to tell you I’m most grateful that she was such a fantastic mother and that she gave birth to my wife. Because without her, I would never have met my wife and I would have never have had the chance to have the greatest friend and the greatest soul mate and partner that anyone could ever imagine.

She raised five fantastic children who are all carrying on that commitment to service, each in their own distinctive way.

Eunice’s passing has not ended the call to service. She and Sarge taught their children to carry on and each is carrying that torch and continuing that legacy.

So in Eunice’s honor, let us all renew our commitment to service.

We miss her so much but we find comfort in knowing that because of Eunice, the world is a much better place.

So again, thank you for the support and the prayers so many of you have sent to my family. And thank you for listening."

The "Newsmaker of the Day" is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:46, 7:46 and 8:46am.

Written by mark@mlode.com