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Airs Wednesday, August 26 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Ted Kennedy’s presidential bid, though ultimately unsuccessful, resulted in a...

Credit: ©Corbis

Above: Ted Kennedy’s presidential bid, though ultimately unsuccessful, resulted in a well-delivered speech with his wife, Joan, at his side (pictured); since then he’s become an icon of the Democratic party, showing the tenacity of the Kennedys and the steadfast determination of the American spirit.

On August 25, 2008, just two months after undergoing surgery for a malignant brain tumor, “The Lion of the Senate” and the Kennedy family’s lone male survivor — Edward M. Kennedy — surprised attendees with an unscheduled speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

“As I look ahead, I am strengthened by family and friendship. So many of you have been with me in the happiest days and the hardest days. Together we have known success and seen setbacks, victory and defeat,” Kennedy said.

The Kennedy story is unlike any other: a saga of ambition, wealth, family loyalty and personal tragedy. From patriarch Joseph Kennedy’s rise on Wall Street and frustrations in politics, John Kennedy’s march to the White House, Robert Kennedy’s near-certain presidential victory, preempted only by his tragic death, through Edward Kennedy’s withdrawal from the 1980 presidential race following the scandal of Chappaquiddick, the family legacy continues to influence politics. Watch the program and view a photo gallery online.

American Experience: The Kennedys Preview

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