The funeral of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy took place at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston today.
In his eulogy, which was met with a standing ovation, President Obama described Senator Kennedy as “the greatest legislator of our time”, saying that “the greatest expectations were placed upon Ted Kennedy’s shoulders because of who he was, but he surpassed them all because of who he became” and quoting what Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once wrote to her brother-in-law: “On you the carefree youngest brother fell a burden a hero would have begged to be spared. We are all going to make it because you were always there with your love”.
Among those attending were also First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden, former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush, with the frail George H. W. Bush the only living president not to attend. Former Vice Presidents Al Gore and Dan Quayle were also in attendance, as well as Ireland’s Prime Minister Brian Cowen and the British Prime Minister’s wife Sarah Brown.
Following the funeral mass in Boston the coffin was flown to Washington, where the motorcade will make a short stop outside Congress, Kennedy’s working place for 46 years, before continuing on to Arlington National Cemetery outside the capital, where the Senator will rest near his two assassinated elder brothers John F. and Robert F. Kennedy.
On the orders of President Obama the flags flew at half staff of federal buildings today, including the US Embassy in Oslo.