Press Pool Reports

Saturday Pool report #4 - Burial

John C. Metzler Jr., superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, provided us with the following information. Latest ETA at the grave site is about 7 pm.

The site is sloping, about 20 feet off Sheridan Drive, in Section 45. It is exactly 100 feet from the RFK site, which now sits in the middle of a Kennedy grave arc, with the JFK eternal flame at the far point.

Metzler said he was contacted by Kennedy staff a few weeks ago to discuss burial options, but no decisions were made until the day of Sen. Kennedy's death. He said he had accompanied the senator on many visits to his brothers' graves.

The grave was excavated at 7 am today and is currently covered with astroturf. A small platform with two rows of chairs is positioned next to it. At the front of the platform is lined with white flowers. Workers broke an irrigation line while they were digging the hole.

The markers will be identical to RFK: a glossy white oak cross at the head of the grave and a white marble foot marker. It will read:

"Edward Moore Kennedy"

"1932-2009"

That's exactly the same as the RFK wording. The EMK markers will be in place tomorrow morning.

According to Metzler these are the only two such crosses at the cemetery, and Section 45 is one of the only areas where crosses may be used. The headstones in the surrounding area are of all shapes and sizes.

A few details on the ceremony:

Presiding is Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a good friend of the senator.

McCarrick enlisted Kennedy and House GOP leader John Boehner to help raise money for DC Catholic schools, and the two also saw each other socially from time to time, according to Jim Manley, former Kennedy spokesman.

The "three volleys" you will hear will involve seven riflemen, a traditonal military funeral ritual, and not to be confused with a 21-gun salute, which is reserved for presidents. The casket will be carried by 8 members of all five service branches, plus a commanding officer, who belong to the "joint casket team." The volleys will be fired by members of the U.S. Army, because Kennedy served two years in the Army after he was expelled from Harvard.

Seating as follows, right to left as facing from the platform:

Front row:

Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy Jr., Kara Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, Curran Raclin, Caroline Raclin, Jean Kennedy Smith.

Second row:

Ethel Kennedy, Kiki Kennedy, Kiley Kennedy, Teddy III, Grace Allen, Max Allen, Doris Reggie, Judge Edmund Reggie.

Veep Joe Biden, Jill Biden and Mr. Metzler will stand off to the other side of Mrs. Kennedy.

At the end of the service, Kennedy's four grandchildren, Kiley and Teddy Kennedy III and Max and Grace Allen, will approach the grave, and Kiley and Grace will say a few final words, although apparently we will not be able to hear them.

A few more details about the service: The service is called the "Rite of Committal and Prayer of Commendation." The program is printed on marbled parchment with black ink. The flowers lining the stage are white hydrangea and the larger arrangements at either end of the platform also include white roses. The grave site is located between two maple trees.

 

Saturday Pool report #3 - Mass

It was a drizzly day in Boston, breaking out into a downpour as dignitaries filed out of the service and onto buses to carry them back to cars.

The room was brightly lit, with visitors filing in through ornate wooden doors. There was a leather-bound guestbook near the entrance. Umbrellas and rain jackets were stuffed under the pews.

Patrick Kennedy walked up and down the pews before the service began, talking with and hugging congregants.

During silence of communion prayers, rain could be heard pattering outside.

There was incense spread as the casket was carried out of the sanctuary, and with the congregation loudly singing, "America the Beautiful." Vicki Kennedy stood next to Cardinal Sean O'Malley for several minutes on the way out.

List of those spotted:

President Obama
Vice President Joe Biden
Former president George W. Bush
Former president Bill Clinton
Former president Jimmy Carter
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Former vice president Al Gore
Former vice president Walter Mondale
Former vice president Dan Quayle
Senator Orrin Hatch
Senator Christopher Dodd
Senator John McCain
Senator John Kerry
Senator Susan Collins
Senator Olympia Snowe
Senator Harry Reid
Senator Judd Gregg
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Al Franken
CIA Director Leon Panetta
Attorney General Eric Holder
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Housing and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Energy Secretary Henry Chu
First Lady Michelle Obama
Former First Lady Laura Bush
Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter
Former Senator Tom Daschle
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
Former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney
Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley
US Representative Barney Frank
US Representative Stephen Lynch
US Representative Jesse Jackson III
US Representative William Delahunt
US Representative Ed Markey
US Representative John Lewis
Former Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth
Martin Meehan, former US Representative and chancellor of UMass-Lowell
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowan
Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Shaun Woodward, secretary of state for Northern Ireland
Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister for the Northern Ireland Assembly
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley
Actor Jack Nicholson
Singer Tony Bennett
Joan Kennedy
Former Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell
Jesse Jackson Jr
Massachusetts Treasurer Tim Cahill
Singer Placido Domingo
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Keith Motley, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts
Robert Travaglini, former president of the Massachusetts Senate
James Aloisi, Massachusetts secretary of transportation
Steve Grossman, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic party in Massachusetts
Jack Wilson, president of the University of Massachusetts
Charles R. Stith, founder and director of Boston University's African
Presidential Archives and Research Center and former ambassador to Tanzia
Nadav Tamir, Israeli consul general for New England
Boston Red Sox owner John Henry
Boston Red Sox president Larry Lucchino
Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner
Stephen Pagliuca, managing partner and executive committee member of the Boston Celtics; managing director of Bain Capital Partners
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich
David Gregory, moderator of "Meet the Press"
Peter Meade, president and CEO of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the US Senate
Hubie Jones, longtime civil rights advocate and dean emeritus of the Boston University School of Social Work
John Walsh, Massachusetts Democratic Party chairman
Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar
Eugene Rivers, minister in Boston
Paul Begala
Gwin Ifill
Tom Brokaw
Boston City Council President Michael Ross
Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo
Massachusetts President Therese Murray
Former Massachusetts Senate President Bill Bulger
Va. Senator Mark Warner
Chris Gabrielli, Massachusetts venture capitalist and former gubernatorial candidate

 

Saturday Pool report #2 - Mass

As the casket was carried down center aisle soft smell of incense filled the sanctuary. Military officers carried the casket and it was silent. Only sound when they left was one officer saying "Hup. Hup. Hup. Hup" to keep pace. Pews are packed. Men and women with earpieces line the walls

 

Saturday Pool report #1 - Mass

The bottom panels of the church's stained glass windows are cracked open and there's several large steel fans. Also a few fans on ceiling are on high. Crowd grew quiet once Kennedy family started walking in, with the only sounds being soft organ music and a few fans. All former presidents came in back left door. Crowd rose when Obama entered up front.

 

Friday Pool report #3 - Service

John Kerry was introduced by Paul Kirk as the state's "senior senator." Toward the end of his remarks, Kerry grew more somber and talked about a vision of seeing Kennedy sailing in heaven. "Sail on, my friend," he said at the end of his remarks. "Sail on."

Other notables: Paul Begala, Democratic consultant and former Clinton adviser; host of Meet the Press David Gregory; Boston businessman Jack Connors; Mass. House Speaker Robert DeLeo; Maria Shriver and her husband, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Congresswoman Niki Tsongas; former Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth; Mass. Governor Deval Patrick and his wife, Diane; Mass. Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray; former Mass. Senate President William Bulger; Congressman Michael Capuano; Obama senior adviser David Axelrod; Congressman John Tierney; former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

 

Friday Pool report #2 - Service

There are about 20 rows of black chairs, with about 30 seats in each row (divided down the middle). There are also people lined up along the walls. The casket is at the front of the room, in front of the podium. Vicki Kennedy, his wife, is sitting on the first seat in the first row on the right hand side of the room, with the casket directly in front of her.

There are white flowers on both sides of the podium, which is made of light wood to match the walls, and inscribed with "John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum."

The room seems to have a tinge of sadness but is also upbeat. The crowd laughed several times during Joe Kennedy's address, has been quick to
applaud, and there is a sense of honoring the phrase on the cover of the program: "A celebration of life"

Joseph P. Kennedy II, when he told of advice his uncle once gave him about sailing, grew empassioned.  "Don't ever, ever ever ever give up," he said, pounded finger on the podium after each "ever."

"If people aren't being treated properly, you stay in the race," he said, pounding the podium again.

Among those who have been spotted so far are: Congressman Ed Markey; Attorney General Martha Coakley; Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill; Senator Chris Dodd; former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II; Caroline Kennedy; State Treasurer Timothy Cahill; Governor Deval Patrick; Jesse Jackson; Phil Johnston (Kennedy friend and former Mass. Dems chairman); Congressman William Delahunt; Senator Orrin Hatch; Senator John McCain; Senator Chuck Schumer; Congressman Stephen Lynch; Mayor Thomas M. Menino; John Kerry and his wife, Teresa; former Mass. Senate President Robert Travaglini

Nick Littlefield joked about how many times Kennedy would ask him to sing, then be broke into a song, saying to a keyboardist, "If I can have an E." The lyrics included the phrase "Nothing in the world will ever be the same." They keyboard accompaniment faded in and out on the speakers, but Littlefield didn't seem to need it, belting out the words into the microphone.

Airplanes occasionally are seen landing at Logan Airport across the harbor.

All speakers have gotten a standing ovation.

There's more laughs than tears. When Governor Deval Patrick recounted an evening with Vicki and the senator at his house in the Berkshires - saying Kennedy thought he sang like Brian Stokes Mitchell - Vicki laughed heartily, rocking in her chair and wiping her eye.

Crowd applauded when he talked about health care from an old clip.

 

Friday Pool report #1 - Service

7:20 p.m. -- Wide, tall windows, with gray clouds outside. American flags draped on the walls on each side of the room. The Boston Community Chorus sang "God Bless America" and the entire crowd joined in singing. As Paul Kirk was giving some opening remarks, VP Joe Biden and his wife walked in at 7:12 p.m., and stood at the front. Aides are trying to find seats for them but they're still standing.

Program Cover:
Edward Moore Kennedy
A Celebration of Life

Photo in the middle of him with his black Portuguese water dogs, red "City Year" jacket, and his beloved home in Hyannis Port in the background
Below the photo is a William Butler Yeats quote: "Think Where Man's glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends"

Inside the first flap is a quote from Kennedy:

"It is our responsibility to live in our time - not to look back to the receding shore, but to sail ahead in hope, remembering whence we came,
cherishing the vlues we carry with us, searching out the newer and better world which is the next destination and discovery of the American journey."

One the back cover are the lyrics to "When Irish Eyes are smiling," by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr.