While no dates and times have been set, it's now being reported that Ted Kennedy will be laid to rest alongside John and Robert in Arlington National Cemetery -- but not before a Boston sendoff.
Plans call for Kennedy to lie in state at the JFK Library and Museum, which is about a 10 minute walk from where he was born: St. Margaret's Hospital for Women, now the St. Mary's Women and Children Center. (While Kennedy's body will be removed out of state, his legacy will live on in Dorchester: the JFK Library is also the site of a planned $22-million dollar wing largely devoted to his legacy.) The Mission Church in Mission Hill has confirmed it will be location of Kennedy's funeral.
As previously reported, there are guestbooks available -- and tributes pouring in -- at the JFK Museum and also at the Kennedy Birthplace in Brookline.
The Times reported this morning that Barack Obama may be eulogizing Kennedy at the funeral. If he does, he may be the only man in America with a shot at topping the eulogy that Ted Kennedy said for his brother Robert at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1968, which -- as the L.A. Times rightly points out -- has since been recognized as a classic of American rhetoric. Don't feel obliged to take our word on it. You can listen to the entire thing on your iPod by downloading an mp3 of it here:
DOWNLOAD: Ted Kennedy's eulogy of Robert Kennedy, 1968 [mp3]
That mp3 comes from a very handsome new website, tedkennedy.org, that the Kennedy-founded Committee for a Democratic Majority has launched today. We daresay it wasn't built overnight. Mainstream news organizations have been describing the site as a place for well-wishers to leave condolances, but it is far more ambitious than that. And while it's not likely to rival the Boston.com Kennedy archives -- one of the most ambitious and dense multimedia projects ever assembled by a news outlet -- it may be an advance look at the content of the JFK Library wing, in virtual form.
So yes, it's collecting tributes from Kennedy's colleagues, heads-of-state, and random visitors in real-time. But it also doubles as a better (or at least prettier, more functional) multimedia tribute to Kennedy's legislative legacy than the current JFK Library archives. Under the heading "In His Own Words," the site collects the rhetorical touchstones of his career -- lining up downloadable text, audio, and video documentation as it exists. (A vast improvement: the JFK Library site has only .wmv files of the eulogy; the new site has joined the 21st century and updated to mp3s.)
It's all there: from the original press packet handed out to reporters as Kennedy announced, just after his 30th birthday, a run for the Senate seat he'd hold for nearly the next half-century, to video and audio documentation of the signing into law by President Obama, just this past April, of the Kennedy/Hatch "Serve America Act."
You can download and listen again to his "dream will never die" speech at the 1980 Democratic Convention, right next to the echoes of it in his surprise speech at the 2008 Democratic Convention.
Here's the text of his 1969 speech calling for an end to the war in Vietnam. And more than 30 years later arguing against the invasion of Iraq. Helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland in 1998. And a year later celebrating the passage of the Americans with disabilities act.
Perhaps most poignantly for today -- and tomorrow, and the next day -- here's the text of his 1978 speech declaring health care to be a universal right. The conservative minority wants you to know that if reasonable folks try to rally sentiment around Kennedy's death to push health-care reform through the Congress, they will not take it lying down. Fine by me. Let's give it to them standing up -- it would be a fitting tribute to the fight Kennedy fought to the end of his life.