Friends, family and colleagues paid tribute to Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy on Friday evening with a three-hour wake capped by a chorus of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling."
An estimated 45,000 people filed past the Democratic legend's flag-draped casket at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library before the event. Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, who has tried to shepherd Kennedy's signature cause of universal health care through the Senate this year, summed up his appeal in three words: "People liked him."
"Some people born with a famous name live off of it. Others enrich theirs," Dodd said. "Teddy enriched his."
Kennedy died Tuesday night at age 77 after being ill with brain cancer for 15 months. He had represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1962, leaving his stamp on "nearly every important law passed in the last half-century," Dodd said.
He became the patriarch of the first family of Democratic politics after the assassinations of his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, during the 1960s. One of Robert Kennedy's sons, former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, fondly recounted how "Uncle Teddy" looked after the children of his slain siblings. Watch Vice President Biden explain how Kennedy "crept into my heart" Read full article »