The life of the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was celebrated Friday night at a memorial service in the library dedicated to his slain older brother, President John F. Kennedy. Kennedy's fellow Democrats and Republicans united in paying tribute to the late senator -- a liberal icon and heir to a political dynasty who served nearly 47 years in the Senate.
Vice President Joe Biden who served with Kennedy in the senate said his legacy would be that he changed the way Americans look at those who are different from them, with greater tolerances for those differences. Former political foe and friend, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said Kennedy never gave up on his causes. And that the Senate will not be the same without him.
Kennedy died Tuesday at the age of 77 from brain cancer. On Saturday, there will be a funeral Mass in Boston with President Barack Obama delivering a eulogy, before the senator is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.
Although Kennedy was a liberal stalwart, lawmakers who served with him, and all living former U.S. presidents, have praised the late senator for his ability to reach across party lines to pass health care, civil rights and education legislation.
Three former presidents --Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush -- are expected to attend Saturday's funeral. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will not be attending the funeral, but wrote in Friday's Boston Globe that Kennedy is being mourned as a "great internationalist" who inspired social progress in every country. Tributes also have come from other world leaders, highlighting Kennedy's dedication to human rights and his work to end apartheid in South Africa.
On Thursday, thousands of people lined streets to catch a glimpse of the motorcade that brought the coffin of Senator Kennedy to the museum from his home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. An estimated 50,000 people filed past his flag-draped coffin in Boston on Thursday and Friday to pay their last respects.