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Thousands Celebrate Ted Kennedy As His Procession Passes By03:41

This article is more than 11 years old.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will lie in repose for a second day Friday at the Kennedy Library in Dorchester. A procession Thursday carried Kennedy's body from his family home in Hyannisport to Boston.

Thousands of people lined the route of Ted Kennedy's final journey through his beloved Cape Cod and Boston as the people of Massachusetts came out not so much to mourn as to celebrate and say thanks.

Among those there to watch the motorcade leave Hyannis was Bettina Dabney Abe. She has a vacation home near the Kennedys and has watched Sen. Edward Kennedy her whole life.

"Seen him sailing out on the bay, as I grew up sailing here as well," Abe said. "I know he loved the ocean."

As the motorcade made its way away from the Nantucket Sound that Kennedy loved, off Cape Cod and up Route 3, people applauded on the overpasses.

The cortege went alongside the Rose Kennedy Greenway and into the North End, the neighborhood where Ted Kennedy's mother, Rose, grew up. That's where Jenny Diranian, from Chelsea, saw the procession go by.

"When the family came by it was impressive for those of us standing outside to see all the limousine windows open, and they were saying thank you to the people for being here," Diranian said. "And then you saw some of the small children taking photographs of the people watching from the outside, and they showed their emotion as well, from the inside. So it was nice. Very nice."

Between City Hall and Faneuil Hall, the growing crowd waited patiently for hours.

Ann Dowling, from East Falmouth, came to town to celebrate her husband's birthday, but she felt she had to stay to pay her respects to the senator. "I feel like a member of the family has died," Dowling said. "I only met Ted Kennedy and shook his hand a couple of times, but...I could cry."

Instead, she laughed.

"Without Ted Kennedy," Dowling said, now with tears in her voice, "my kids wouldn't have gone to college. I mean because he worked so hard for college loans and, you know, the elderly — we had elderly relatives to take care of and he just was always, always fighting for us."

It's devastating to lose him from the Senate," said Matt Bedlion, a high-school junior from Douglas, who has been into history and politics since at least the eighth grade. Bedlion came to Boston for a college visit to Northeastern, but he just had to linger for this moment.

"I don't think anyone will ever replace what Ted Kennedy has done or what Ted Kennedy would have done for the state," Bedlion said. "You think of so many bills and laws that have been passed through Massachusetts, and his fingerprint's on so many of them."

In front of City Hall, Mayor Thomas Menino waited between the flags of the United States and the city of Boston at half mast.

As the procession came out of the North End and passed City Hall, the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. The Kennedys still had their windows down and they were smiling and waving back.

The bell of Faneuil Hall tolled 47 times, once for each year that Edward Kennedy served in the Senate.

"Did you see Caroline Kennedy?" one man asked another.

Though Ted Kennedy's time has passed, the Kennedy mystique lives on.

This program aired on August 28, 2009.

Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.


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