Almost 100 Past and Present Colleagues to Attend Funeral

Posted August 28, 2009 at 11:22am

Nearly 100 current and former Senators were preparing to make their way to Boston on Friday and Saturday for the funeral of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as part of a Congressional delegation led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

As of early Friday afternoon, some 92 past and present Senators had indicated they would attend the funeral, as well as scores of House Members.

In addition to Reid, current Senators planning to attend the funeral include Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Thirty-two current Members of the Senate are scheduled to take a plane from Andrews Air Force Base, just outside of Washington, to Boston on Saturday morning for the funeral, while dozens more were making their own travel arrangements.

At least 18 former Senators were expected to join current Members in travelling by plane from Washington, including former Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Howard Baker (R-Tenn.) and former Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Wyche Fowler (D-Ga.), Nancy Kassebaum (R-Kan.), Bill Brock (R-Tenn.) and Jim Sasser (D-Tenn.).

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and all four living former presidents — Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — were scheduled to attend the funeral, while international dignitaries at the services will include Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

President Barack Obama will eulogize Kennedy at the funeral, while Vice President Joseph Biden, Dodd, Hatch, Kerry and McCain are scheduled to make remarks at a memorial service at the John F. Kennedy Library on Friday, along with Kennedy’s nephew former Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) and Kennedy’s niece Caroline.

At the library, where Kennedy is lying in repose, tens of thousands of people have paid their respects to the lawmaker: An estimated 25,000 people viewed his casket Thursday, and by 8 a.m. Friday more than 1,100 people were already in line outside the library. Well-wishers visiting the casket included members of the general public as well as celebrities, while members of Kennedy’s family, personal friends, and current and former staff were sitting vigil beside the body.

Those sitting vigil include former Obama and Kennedy staffer Stephanie Cutter, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, former Chief of Staff Gerry Kavanaugh, Bob Shrum and current staffers Sharon Waxman, Janice Kagayutan, Kevin Callahan, Melissa Wagoner, Julie Ryder, Keith Maley and Jill McCarthy.

Kennedy’s body is expected to arrive at Andrews at 3 p.m. Saturday, and a motorcade will take his casket from the base to the East Front of the Capitol for a brief prayer ceremony for staff and the public, scheduled to begin at 4:30.

At 5:30, Kennedy will be taken to Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be laid to rest next to his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy (D-N.Y.).