Brought to Arlington National Cemetery to be buried close to his slain brothers, Edward Kennedy has completed his final journey.
For the late US Senator’s family, it was the end of a day of high emotions – a day when Barack Obama hailed what he called Kennedy’s “historic body of achievements” and “his giving heart.”
Joe Biden, the Vice President, was among those at the graveside.
As his health declined, Kennedy wrote to the Pope. The response he received was read aloud at the intimate burial ceremony by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Mourners were told: “The Holy Father has read the letter which you entrusted to President 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 greatful for your promise of prayers for him and for the needs of our universal Church.”
Earlier, a funeral Mass was held in Boston for the patriarch of America’s pre-eminent political family.
Mourners included former presidents as well as the man now in the White House whose words for his fellow Democrat could not have been warmer.
“He was a product of an age when the joy and nobility of politics prevented differences of party and platform and philosophy from becoming barriers to cooperation and mutual respect – a time when adversaries still saw each other as patriots,” said Barack Obama. “And that is how Ted Kennedy became the greatest legislator of our time.”
Before going to the cemetery, the motorcade stopped for a prayer service at Capitol Hill in Washington. In the place where Ted Kennedy spent so much of his life, those who knew him and those who did not united in grief and respect.