Huffpost Politics

Kennedy To Be Buried At Arlington

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BOSTON — Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's body and members of his family will travel for at least two hours from his Cape Cod home to Boston, where he will lie in repose for two days before his funeral at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Kennedy's body will leave his Hyannis Port compound around lunchtime Thursday and pass through sites that were significant to him as the hearse heads to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a family spokesman said late Wednesday.

Kennedy, who died Tuesday at age 77 after a yearlong struggle with brain cancer, will lie in repose at Smith Hall, ringed by an honor guard including representatives from each of the four military branches. Members of his family, including his wife, Vicki, are expected to greet well-wishers filing past his casket.

A memorial service will be held at the presidential library Friday evening.

President Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at a funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, commonly known as the Mission Church, in the Mission Hill neighborhood on Saturday. The cavernous basilica, built in the 1870s, was where Kennedy prayed daily while his daughter, Kara, successfully battled cancer.

"Over time, the basilica took on special meaning for him as a place of hope and optimism," a family statement said.

A burial service for Kennedy at Arlington was scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Kennedy, who served in the Senate for nearly half a century, will be laid to rest near his slain brothers, former President John F. Kennedy and former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, on the famous hillside that serves as the burial site of others from the storied clan, including former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

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 near it is the most likely site for Edward Kennedy's burial.

Kennedy, the family statement said, "spent more days than most at Arlington visiting the graves of his beloved brothers and paying tribute to the fallen men and women of Massachusetts who gave their lives for our country."

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 and 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 met with Arlington officials again Wednesday to finalize the plans, a second defense official said.

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Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman and Pauline Jelinek in Washington and Philip Elliott in Oak Bluffs, Mass., contributed to this story.

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