As for the coverage, every local Boston TV station showed the casket being loaded onto the hearse at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport for the motorcade to Dorchester (close to Boston) and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, where the Senator will lie in state until Saturday morning. Tonight the public will be allowed to view the casket and pay their respects, and tomorrow as well. The funeral Mass will take place Saturday morning at a North End church, and then the body will be transported to Arlington National Cemetery where Ted will be buried next to his brother Bobby. Jack Kennedy is buried there, of course, along with Jackie, their son Patrick, who lived for two days in 1963, and a stillborn daughter.
All along the highway from Cape Cod to Boston, cars were pulled over to the side of the road, and people were waiting there and on the overpasses to see the cortege. Thousands have poured into Boston, and when the motorcade went by there were tears, waves, applause, an Irish wake atmosphere. It was far different from the numbed shock when JFK and RFK were killed. We knew that Ted was dying.
The JFK Library overlooks the sea, a beautiful building with glass windows, because the sea was in the Kennedys’ blood, and if you live here, whether right on the ocean or an hour’s drive away, the sound of the gulls and the sparkle of sunlight on the water is in your blood, too. Why do I write so often of the seaside? Because its images are part of me.
The clan has gathered, and Jean Kennedy Smith is the last surviving child of the nine Kennedy children of Joe and Rose Kennedy. Some died of disease or old age, but many died young: Joe, Jr., died in World War II in 1944; Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948, Jack was murdered in 1963 and Bobby in 1968. John, Jr. has been dead for several years now from a plane crash.
You know how we joke about the Prince of Gotham, Bruce Wayne’s title? Well, his clan is smaller and his family isn’t political, but the royalty is the same. Whether you like it or not, the Kennedys are our American royalty.
Yes, there are people in Massachusetts who hate the Kennedys. There are archconservatives here who are glad to see Ted gone. They are, thank the Goddess, in the minority.
A Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate since 1952, before my parents even met. Jack served from 1952-1961, and Ted from 1962-2009.
The President will come to this library-by-the-sea, and most of the Senate.
Edward Kennedy belonged to the country, but he is also one of our own. Boston is a big city, but much smaller than New York or Chicago. Boston is often more like a small town. Its streets are narrow and its buildings old, and history lives here. The Irish made Boston their own, and I carry that blood from my father’s side. We Irish are very clannish people. :) The ranks close in times of sorrow.
It’s a beautiful day today, less humid than recently, and the sun is sparkling off the ocean while a light breeze blows.
A Kennedy New England kind of day.
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