The long line of Bay Staters waiting to pay their last respects to the senator Thursday was evidence of the intimate and powerful connection he had with his home state.
Adam Hunger/ Reuters
The mourners had supported his brother for president, shook his hand, or heard him speak. They called him Teddy, and felt he was a friend and trusted ally, even if they never met him.
To brave the mid-August sun and the crowds that built as the day wore on was the least they could do for a man who gave so much, they said.
The motorcade carrying Edward Kennedy’s body arrived here at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Thursday afternoon, passing from his beloved Cape Cod home to Boston on a pre-planned route where thousands of Bay Staters lined the roads.
That Massachusetts loved its senior senator was evident long before his passing Tuesday. It was obvious every six years. Senator Kennedy won eight elections in total, six with more than 60 percent of the vote. Two of those times, he took more than 70 percent.
Mourners here – both Massachusetts natives and visitors from as far afield as Florida – felt the weight of that service.
“I had a long history with the Kennedys,” said Maryann of Rockport, Mass.
She says she cast her first presidential ballot for John F. Kennedy in 1960 and, though she didn’t know the Kennedys personally, they impacted her life again and again. She joined President Kennedy’s Peace Corps and served for eight years.
“Ted Kennedy gave so much of his life that just being here is showing respect for him,” she adds.
Even in his toughest election, in 1994 against Republican Mitt Romney, who would later go on to be governor of Massachusetts and an unsuccessful candidate for president, Kennedy won with 58 percent of the vote.