The Associated Press
BOSTON (AP) - Leaders and other luminaries paid final tribute Saturday to Edward M. Kennedy, mourning the loss of a senator who made an indelible impact on U.S. life over 47 years in Congress and of a man who held up America's most famous family through tragedy and triumph.
President Barack Obama was delivering the eulogy to cap a two-hour Roman Catholic funeral Mass for Kennedy. The service drew three of the four living former presidents, dozens of Kennedy relatives, pews full of current and former members of Congress and hundreds of others affected by Kennedy in ways large and small to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in a steady rain.
No fewer than seven priests, 11 pallbearers and 29 honorary pallbearers took part.
Kennedy's flag-draped casket - carried by eight servicemen - was wrapped tightly in plastic to guard against the rain as it was removed from his brother's presidential library and put into a hearse for the drive to the church. His wife, Victoria, closed her eyes slowly and appeared to choke back tears as she watched under cover of an umbrella. The family had held a brief and private prayer service at the library in the morning.
The military honor guard, which had stood by Kennedy's casket while he lay in repose at the library, carried it up the church's steps.