Arlington: Laying Senator Edward Kennedy to Rest

6:00 pm ET: A large crowd of staffers and others is assembled at the Capitol awaiting the casket of Senator Edward Kennedy which is en route from Andrews Air Force Base. The procession will drive around the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol and then proceed to Arlington, where Senator Kennedy will be laid to rest.

ABC News reports there are 900 staff on the steps and 4,000 in the plaza and lining Constitution Ave. You can follow on Twitter here.

The official Edward M. Kennedy page with updates is here.

6:10 pm: Motorcade is 2 miles away. Further updates below:

6:30 pm: Brief prayer outside the steps of the Capitol. Vicki Kennedy is there.

7:30 p.m.: The hearse is arriving at Arlington. Joe Biden is there. The family is now arriving. The Honor Guard is waiting.

The cable yakkers are just ruining it. Can they not watch in silence?

7:55 p.m.: The Casket Guard is taking the casket out of the hearse. The sun has already set. They are proceeding with it in silence. Vicki Kennedy, escorted by her brother, Patrick Kennedy and Jean Kennedy Smith are right behind.

They put the casket down and are holding the flag above it.

8:03 p.m: The service is taking place, led by Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. He reads a letter Teddy wrote to the Pope weeks before he died that he says was hand-delivered by President Obama. He reads the Pope's response back to Teddy. It's dark outside now.

There's the military guns and Taps, followed by some words by two of his grandchildren. The service ends.

May he rest in peace.

Update: Sen. Kennedy's Memoirs will be released Setp. 14:

< Teddy Kennedy, Jr.'s Eulogy to Sen. Ted Kennedy | Saturday Night Open Thread : Here Comes the Sun >
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    The CNN article said that Senator Byrd (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 05:52:37 PM EST
    was at the capital to pay his respects. Glad to hear that he is up and about.

    He was there in a wheelchair (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 06:14:25 PM EST
    on the steps, waving not his beloved pocket copy of the Constitution this time but, instead, a small American flag.

    It was lovely to see but also sad, as the flag was waving in part owing to what appeared to be fairly uncontrollable tremors.  So I prefer to remember the clip shown on tv several times these days, of Byrd in the Senate at his desk, getting the word of his colleague's death and bowing his head as he tried to speak of "Ted" but broke down in tears.


    Okay, the first grandchild (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:25:02 PM EST
    does me in with his comment at the gravesite.  There is another generation coming up of Kennedys who can make great speeches.  

    And I'm actually glad that the fates (or maybe the plans not released to the media) delayed this event until after dark, so the networks are caught unable to show it.  I don't need to see those long shots zooming in on little kids faces in sorrow.  It's better this way, like radio.

    I agree (none / 0) (#4)
    by mogal on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 07:43:20 PM EST
    I missed the reading of the letter Ted Kennedy wrote to the Pope, is it posted anywhere?

    It probably will be....it was very prominent at (none / 0) (#5)
    by Angel on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 08:08:02 PM EST
    graveside service.

    Here are the excerpts that were read: (none / 0) (#11)
    by robrecht on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 08:07:14 AM EST
    "Most Holy Father I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me, and I am so deeply grateful to him. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God's blessings as you lead our church and inspire our world during these challenging times. I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines.

    "I was diagnosed with brain cancer more than a year ago and although I continue treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me. I am 77 years old and preparing for the next passage of life. I have been blessed to be part of a wonderful family and both of my parents, particularly my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provides solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my path. I want you to know Your Holiness that in my nearly 50 years of elective office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I have worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war.

    "Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a United States senator. I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I will continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone. I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith. I continue to pray for God's blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me."

    An account from the Vatican of the pope's response, according to McCarrick:

    "The Holy Father has the letter which you entrusted to President Barack Obama, who kindly presented it to him during their recent meeting. He was saddened to know of your illness, and asked me to assure you of his concern and his spiritual closeness. He is particularly grateful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of our universal church.

    "His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God, our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.

    "Commending you and the members of your family to the loving intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord."



    comment deleted that (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Aug 29, 2009 at 09:20:22 PM EST
    spoke ill of the dead. This site does not allow commenters to make nasty comments about the recently departed. New commenters should familiarize themselves with the comment policy as expressed in the site rules and on numerous threads.

    Did anyone see the little tiff between (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 01:06:17 AM EST
    Olbermann and Chris Matthews? It went something like this: CM says he thinks people will be wondering why Obama wasn't at Arlington, and that they will wonder whether he wanted to be on vacation more. He asks whether it wouldn't have been a better thing to do to be in Arlington and show you care about the guy (Teddy.) I ususally just flick the channel when he talks, but the TL kid was here so I just said something out loud like" what a jerk he is -- does he ever stop." And then Olbermann in a very pleasant voice says to Matthews, well you have to look at it from the other side. The Arlington burial was for family and had he shown up there, there's a chance the attention would have focused on him and this burial service isn't about him. And he went this morning and gave the eulogy, and he's just giving the family their private time to grieve. First Matthews, taken aback (cause he knew from the muted tone it was a rebuke) said, "Well I didn't think of that." Then says maybe he hadn't thought it through, and then says he retracts it entirely. Keith said, first time that's ever happened. But it was cool the way Keith took Matthews down without ever raising his voice.

    I went out with friends tonight (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 01:12:23 AM EST
    Did something that felt good.  It is a great deal of feeling low and grief burying our last Kennedy son of "that generation" today.  The one who fought the longest and hardest for everything that is wonderful and fresh from our creator in all of us. There will not be another.  Good night sweet prince.

    from Hamlet (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Aug 30, 2009 at 01:21:04 AM EST
    Horatio's words of Hamlet: "Now cracks a noble heart. Goodnight, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."