KENNEDY TO BE BURIED WITH BROTHERS AT ARLINGTON
WASHINGTON – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will lie in repose Thursday and Friday at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, followed by his funeral Saturday at a city church and burial later that day near his slain brothers at Arlington National Cemetery.
Kennedy’s family plans to travel by motorcade with his body from their compound on Cape Cod, Mass., to the library in Boston on Thursday. The facility will be open to the public for certain periods on both days while Kennedy lies in repose. The Kennedys have planned a private memorial service at the library for Friday night, according to a schedule of events released by Kennedy’s Senate office.
On Saturday morning, a funeral Mass for the late senator will take place at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica — commonly known as the Mission Church — in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. The cavernous basilica on Tremont Street, built in the 1870s, was where Kennedy prayed daily while his daughter, Kara, successfully battled her own cancer.
“Over time, the Basilica took on special meaning for him as a place of hope and optimism,” the family statement said.
Kennedy died late Tuesday after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.
A burial service at Arlington was scheduled for Saturday afternoon.
Kennedy, who served in the Senate for nearly half a century, will be laid to rest near his brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, on the famous Virginia hillside that serves as the burial sites of others from the storied clan, including former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
At the site of the eternal flame rest four Kennedy family members: the former president and his wife; their baby son, Patrick, who died after two days; and a stillborn child. Robert Kennedy’s grave is a short distance away and somewhere near it is the most likely site for Edward Kennedy’s burial.
“Senator Kennedy spent more days than most at Arlington visiting the graves of his beloved brothers and paying tribute to the fallen men and women of Massachusetts who gave their lives for our country,” the statement said.
A senior defense official said the Kennedy family some time ago approached the Army to explore the possibility of burying the senator at Arlington, the nation’s most celebrated burial ground of fallen military and the resting place of astronauts, Supreme Court justices and other giants in American history.
Kennedy is eligible for burial at Arlington by virtue of his service in Congress as well as his two years in the Army, 1951 to 1953. He was a private first class and served in the military police at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, then located in Paris and now in Belgium.
The family met with Arlington officials again Wednesday to finalize the plans, said a second defense official.
Associated Press writers Pauline Jelinek in Washington, Philip Elliott in Oak Bluffs, Mass., and Denise Lavoie in Boston contributed to this story.