Sen. Ted Kennedy laid to rest at Arlington
(AP) - Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was laid to restalongside slain brothers John and Robert on hallowed ground atArlington National Cemetery on Saturday evening, celebrated for"the dream he kept alive" across the decades since their deaths.
Crowds lined the streets of two cities on a day that marked theend of a political era - outside Kennedy's funeral in rainy Boston,and later in the day in humid, late-summer Washington. With flagsover the Capitol flying at half-staff in his memory, his hearsestopped outside the Senate where he served for 47 years.
"Go now, to your place of rest. And meet the Lord, your God,"said the Rev. Daniel Coughlin, the House chaplain.
A few miles away, Kennedy's freshly excavated gravesite was on agently sloping Virginia hillside, flanked by a pair of maple trees.His brother Robert, killed in 1968 while running for president,lies 100 feet away. It is another 100 to the eternal flame that hasburned since 1963 for John F. Kennedy, president when he wasassassinated.
The youngest brother died Tuesday at 77, more than a year afterhe was diagnosed with a brain tumor. An oak cross, painted white,marked the head of his grave, and a flat marble footstone bore thesimple inscription, "Edward Moore Kennedy 1932-2009."
In Boston, one son, Patrick, wept quietly as another, Teddy Jr.,spoke from the pulpit of the Basilica of Our Lady of PerpetualHelp. Teddy Jr. recalled the day years ago, shortly after losing aleg to cancer, that he slipped walking up an icy driveway as heheaded out to go sledding. "I started to cry and I said, `I'llnever be able to climb up that hill."'
"And he lifted me up in his strong, gentle arms and saidsomething I will never forget. He said, `I know you can do it.There is nothing that you can't do."'
Rain beat down steadily as Kennedy's coffin was borne by amilitary honor guard into the Catholic church, and again when itwas brought back out for the flight to Washington and the militarycemetery just across the Potomac River from Washington.
In life, the senator had visited the burial ground often tomourn his brothers, killed in their 40s, more than a generationago, by assassins' bullets.
"He was given a gift of time that his brothers were not. And heused that time to touch as many lives and right as many wrongs asthe years would allow," Obama said in a eulogy that also gentlymade mention of Kennedy's "personal failings and setbacks."
As a member of the Senate, Kennedy was a "veritable force ofnature," the president said. But more than that, the "baby of thefamily who became its patriarch, the restless dreamer who becameits rock."
Those left behind to mourn "grieve his passing with thememories he gave, the good he did, the dream he kept alive" Obamasaid inside the packed church.
Hundreds lined nearby sidewalks, ignoring the rain, as thefuneral procession passed.
"I said to myself this morning, 'No matter what the weather,I'm going, I don't care if I have to swim," said Lillian Bennett,59, who added she was a longtime Kennedy supporter and determinedto get as close as she could to the invitation-only funeral.
"The Mass of Christian burial weaves together memory andhope," said the Rev. Mark R. Hession, parish priest at the churchin a working class neighborhood of Boston.
There was plenty of both in a two-hour service filled withreferences to Kennedy's political accomplishments and personalrecollections of his private life. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and tenorPlacido Domingo provided musical grace notes.
Kennedy's widow, Vicki, his sole surviving sibling, Jean, andRobert Kennedy's widow, Ethel, carefully arranged the cloth funeralpall atop the coffin.
Like others, Teddy Jr., touched on his father's legacy.
"He answered Uncle Joe's call to patriotism, Uncle Jack's callto public service and Bobby's determination to seek a newer world.Unlike them, he lived to be a grandfather," he said.
Joseph Kennedy Jr. died in World War II, John F. Kennedy was thenation's 35th president when he was assassinated in 1963 and Sen.Robert F. Kennedy was killed five years later as he campaigned forthe presidency.
Saturday's events marked the end of four days of public andprivate mourning meant to emphasize Kennedy's 47 years in theSenate from Massachusetts, his standing as the foremost liberalDemocrat of the late 20th century yet a legislator who courtedcompromise with Republicans, a family man and last heir to adynasty that began in the years after World War II.
Thousands of mourners filed past his flag-draped coffin earlierin the week when Kennedy lay in repose at the John F. KennedyLibrary in Boston. Republicans and Democrats alike recalled hispolitical career in a bipartisan evening of laughter-filledspeechmaking on Friday.
Even the church had special meaning for the family. Kennedyprayed there daily several years ago during his daughter Kara'ssuccessful battle with lung cancer.