August 26, 2009

Kennedy to lie in repose at library

Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston before his funeral at a city church, said a Democratic source familiar with the planning. Kennedy is to be buried afterward at Arlington National Cemetery near his slain brothers, said another official knowledgeable about the arrangements.

Exact times and dates are still being determined by the Kennedy family, said the Democratic source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because details had not been publicly announced.

Kennedy’s funeral Mass 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.

Kennedy died late Tuesday after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

A woman who answered the phone at the church said the day of the service has not been decided and referred calls to Kennedy’s office. A spokeswoman at the library did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Kennedy, who served in the Senate for nearly half a century, will then 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. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because arrangements were still being made.

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.

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 was meeting with officials again Wednesday to talk in greater detail about funeral plans, said a second defense official.


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