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Americas

A 'Celebration of Life' at JFK library honours late senator

Video by Shirli SITBON

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-08-29

The president of the United States will deliver a eulogy at a funeral mass for Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Boston, a day after an emotional "Celebration of Life" memorial service was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

US President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at a funeral mass in Boston's Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica as the United States pays its final respects to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who died on Tuesday aged 77.

 

The "Senate's lion" will then be laid to rest alongside his brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

A "Celebration of Life" memorial service for "Ted" Kennedy was held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, on Friday.

 

Among the featured speakers at the celebration were US Vice President Joseph Biden, Republican Senator John McCain and Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry.

 

Others speakers included Joseph P. Kennedy, a former congressman and the son of former Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy. 

 

The evening, dubbed by the Kennedy family a "celebration of life," was the last event before the Democratic Party giant's funeral on Saturday and burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

   
The family had asked for the service to be "a celebration," a chance to "celebrate his life with his love of music, laughter and stories with friends and family he adored."

 

 

Guests joined widow Vicki and other family members in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the museum built overlooking Boston Harbor to commemorate the slain president.

 

Numerous fellow senators, both Democrat and Republican, paid tribute to Kennedy's life work and his dedication to the causes he believed in. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Republican governor of California and former Hollywood action actor who married into the Kennedy family, was also present at the service.
   
Prominent Sinn Fein leaders Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, who got to know Kennedy when he helped broker peace in Northern Ireland, were also in attendance.

 

Public tributes

 

Earlier in the day, crowds formed huge new lines Friday to bid farewell at the coffin of Edward Kennedy ahead of the legendary senator's final wake and funeral.
   
An estimated 25,000 Boston locals and visitors from around the world came on the first day of the vigil Thursday. On Friday the queue to get into the John F. Kennedy Library, where Edward Kennedy lay in a flag-draped casket, again snaked for more than 200 meters (yards).
   
Hundreds of other people formed fresh lines in the car park of the Boston library and museum to sign books of condolences.
  
On Saturday, President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy at a Catholic funeral Mass. Former US presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are expected to attend.

 

 

Kennedy, who died Tuesday, aged 77, at his family's Atlantic holiday home on Cape Cod, was then to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, alongside his assassinated brothers John and Robert.
     
John F. Kennedy was murdered in 1963 while president and Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down five years later while running for the White House. Many expected the younger brother, popularly known as Teddy, to seize the mantle.
   
But his White House hopes were dashed after his name was tainted by scandal, drinking problems and a messy divorce.
   
He lost the Democratic Party nomination to incumbent Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election.
   
He then came back as a senator of legendary political skills and determination, earning the admiration of even his critics by the end.
   

Date created : 2009-08-29

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