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Mourners gather in Mass. for Kennedy memorial
Question of the Day
HYANNIS PORT, Mass. — A motorcade carrying the body of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy passed miles of mourners Thursday as it proceeded from the Cape Cod home where he spent his final days to the presidential library bearing the name of one of his slain brothers.
The late senator’s loved ones — including niece Caroline, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, and son Patrick, a Rhode Island congressman — arrived before noon for a private Mass at the family compound in Hyannis Port.
Relatives watched afterward from near the house as the flag-draped casket was loaded into a hearse, then took turns touching the vehicle as they passed it on the way to their cars. As the motorcade pulled away for the 70-mile trip to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Patrick Kennedy sat in the passenger seat of the hearse, near tears.
The motorcade passed thousands of people lining the route and was to go by sites important to the senator on the way to the library, which he helped develop and where he will lie in repose until Friday, a Senate office statement said.
Check out more video coverage of Sen. Kennedy here.
Spectators gathered in Hyannis Port and Boston, clutching cameras, tissues and at least one flag of Ireland, the Kennedys’ ancestral homeland. Motorists stopped their cars on overpasses, hoping to catch a glimpse.
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Virginia Cain, 54, said she walked just under 2 miles from her summer home in Centerville to the roads leading to the Kennedy compound so she could witness history.
“I can remember where I was when President Kennedy died, and I’ll remember where I was when the senator left Hyannis Port,” she said.
On Main Street in downtown Hyannis, flags, flowers and personal notes lay at the base of a flagpole outside the John F. Kennedy Museum, where about two dozen people gathered.
Someone had placed an old Kennedy campaign sign with a new inscription: “God bless Ted, the last was first,” referring to his ascension to political greatness after the untimely deaths of his two older brothers.
At the library, James Jenner, a 28-year-old culinary student from Boston, watched a replay of Kennedy’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, then placed the Red Sox cap he was wearing outside, where other mourners had left flowers, small American flags and a stuffed teddy bear with angel wings.
“It was Teddy’s home team,” Jenner said. “It just seemed appropriate to leave him the cap. It symbolizes everything that he loved about his home state and everything he was outside the Senate.”
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