Saturday, August 29, 2009

Clintons, Bushes, Obamas and many others say goodbye at Ted Kennedys Funeral

Today was the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy. He was mourned by nearly 1,500 guests, including 3 former presidents, Obama, Bush and Clinton, as well as 58 current members of the U.S. Senate. President Obama delivered an emotional eulogy. Saying that the country may have viewed him as "heir to a weighty legacy" but he was playfully known by the youngest Kennedys less grandly: as the big cheese, "The Grand Fromage."

Ted Kennedy's sons, Patrick Kennedy and Ted Kennedy Jr., also spoke in very moving words which yes, brought me to tears.

The funeral was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica in Boston Massachuttes. He will be buried later today in a private service at Arlington National Cemetery, alongside his brothers, John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. The site is closed right now but will be opened to the public tomorrow at 8am. The burial will take place after another memorial ceremony that is to take place on the steps on the Capitol.

If you watched any of the funeral on television, it was hard to not notice that Hillary was sitting next to George Bush in the second row behind the Obamas. So interesting how many people came together to celebrate this great man. Here is an interesting play by play of the power pew on the left hand side from Politico:

Obamas, Bushes, Clintons

An amazing spectacle of power and kibbitzing in the basilica.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle just arrived, a few minutes after Bill and Hillary Clinton walked into the sanctuary. Former President George W. Bush seemed to have slipped into the church virtually unnoticed.

They are all congregated in the first few rows -- three living presidents and a sitting one -- with the jovial, easygoing vibe of a family reunion.

Hillary Clinton is having an intense conversation with President Bush, whom she demonized during the 2008 campaign, and the former president is listening intently and laughing as the secretary of state leans over to make to a point to Laura Bush.

Bill Clinton plopped down behind Obama -- and the president twisted around to hear the former POTUS make a long, finger-pointing point. Obama, a huge smile on his face, began holding forth on some point of his own a few minutes later.

After that, former president Clinton began chatting with Bush, who seemed to be speaking less than the chattier Democrats dominating his pew.


Jackie said...

You have to be proud to be a Democrat on ocassions just like this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures. I was riveted by the funeral and the celebration last evening as well. What a day of not only celebrating Teddy, but also reflecting on the past. Yes, I'm old enough to remember the glory days of John and Bobby.

Anonymous said...

Look at Michelle trying to give Hillary a kiss on the cheek like they're friends. We haven't forgotten the vile sexist things Michelle said about Hillary during the primaries. It must be hard to look like a drag queen.

AJHalliwell said...

Major Lawl's@Hillary in Pic 7.
Can you say worst seat in the house?

Anonymous said...

Jimmy carter was there too. I watched the funeral on television (I'm from Massachusetts, how could I not?) and saw him several times. So that would make four Presidents.
Regardless, Senator Kennedy was a great man who did a lot of good for people whenever he could, and he will be sorely missed.

Stacy said...

It was nice to see them all coming together for something like this and it was clear from Vicky and Hillary's hug, that there was real warmth/empathy there.

The end of the day at Arlington was heartbreaking - seeing those kids not be able to leave the coffin behind honestly made me cry. Those grandchildren (and young nieces and nephews) had a really long, public day and it must have been very hard at times.

AJHalliwell said...

I just noticed H.W.'s lack of attendance? Is he healthy these days?

Still4Hill said...

@AJ I noticed GHW's absence right away - it was never explained as far as I know.

Also Hillz in pic 7 - she got dwarfed behind Michelle and between Big Bill and W. But I noticed that every time she is in a house of worship she looks up - a lot.

She's so cute there looking up.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice how Vicki Kennedy and Hillary had a long hug during the service... I'm not Catholic but I think it was when everyone had to say hi to their neighbours and stuff (peace be with you something like that)... And the hug between Vicki and Michelle was strange...

adugan said...

great photos
missed watching this on tv due to attending my cousin's funeral

Sarah said...

im so sorry to hear that, amy!

yea, i definitely noticed that HW wasnt there... i wonder if maybe they didnt have a very good relationship. well... i guess cater and ted didnt have an amazing relationship but he still paid his respects...

even though i do not care for HW AT ALL, i hope he isnt sick or something! it just doesnt make much sense otherwise.

did anyone see the ceremony at arlington?? was that aired or was the press kept out?

Jackie said...

It was aired, and a few grandchildren spoke about the memories of Sen. Kennedy, and the things he always did with them.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite photos is the one of HRC and Biden. I think they truly adore one another, and respect one another. Thank you, Sarah, for all your work in bringing us these pics.

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