Boston (Massachusetts, US), Aug.28 (ANI): Tens of thousands of mourners packed the sides of beach roads, highways, and city streets from Hyannis Port to Boston on Thursday to bid an emotional farewell to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who made a final journey from his cherished summer refuge, over the Sagamore Bridge, past touchstones of his life in politics.
People waved American flags and held handmade signs, watching as the senator's funeral procession wound swiftly to its destination at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where the senator will lie in repose through Friday afternoon.
An extraordinary three-day celebration of Kennedy's life will continue today with a public viewing of his casket at the Kennedy library and a private memorial service there tonight.
Tomorrow, President Obama is scheduled to deliver a eulogy at Kennedy's funeral Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Mission Hill, followed by Kennedy's burial in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Bostonians were by and large awestruck by the grandeur and scope of the procession, as they many of them knew Kennedy not as an exalted senator and powerful statesman, but as an intimate figure who frequented their neighborhoods, knew their names, and exuded an uncommon compassion, especially in private moments, reports the Boston Globe.
Crowds surged and applauded along the route but were heaviest in Boston, bringing parts of the city to a reverent standstill as Kennedy's body passed. As the motorcade crept slowly up Park Street toward the State House, a smattering of applause became a full ovation.
The procession began at midday with a Mass for the Kennedy family in a sunroom of their compound in Hyannis Port, overlooking Nantucket Sound, where the senator loved to sail. Afterward, a military honor guard rolled the senator's casket, draped in an American flag, out of the storied home.
Kennedy's relatives, led by Vicki and his sister, Jean, stood silently as the casket was loaded into the back of the waiting hearse. The senator's daughter, Kara, briefly wiped away tears, but most family members were stoic, their hands clasped in front of them. Kennedy's two granddaughters briefly embraced before the family dispersed into waiting limousines. Many reached out and lay a soft hand on Kennedy's hearse as they walked by.
The motorcade took Summer Street into South Boston, passing construction workers wearing hardhats, soldiers in fatigues, and members of a carpenter's union holding signs.
The hearse made its last stop in a circular drive at the entrance to the Kennedy Presidential Library. The wooden casket was carried from the hearse by a military honor guard, who moved in slow, synchronized steps. (ANI)