The Kennedy family estimates (via Twitter) that 25,000 people paid their respects to Senator Edward Kennedy at the J.F.K. Presidential Library in Boston yesterday. The library was scheduled to close at 11 p.m., but stayed open until 2 a.m. due to the long lines. The family said, "We could not be more grateful for the amazing support. Thank you."
Bostonist spent two and a half hours in line and reports, "Bottles of water were distributed to those waiting in line in the parking lot, staff and volunteers were friendly and respectful. In a touching gesture, many members of the mourning family worked their way through the lines of well-wishers waiting to view the casket within the library, including Kerry Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Kennedy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy. Each offered her hand, smile and message of appreciation, making a point to thank each and every person she saw." Kennedy's son Rep. Patrick Kennedy, nephew Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and niece Caroline Kennedy were also among those thanking people. RFK Jr. spoke to Eyewitness News about the outpouring from the public for his uncle and also remembered his father's funeral in New York (video).
People traveled from near and far to pay their respects; a woman who had driven from Hackensack, NJ told the Boston Globe, "I just had to be here. The Kennedys - they were always involved with the civil rights movement, and anything that happened to them we felt happened to our family." There will be another public viewing today, followed by a private memorial that will feature remembrances from Vice President Joe Biden and Senators John McCain and John Kerry. Tomorrow, President Obama will speak at Kennedy's funeral (a White House spokesperson said it would be a "very personal" eulogy). Afterwards, the late Senator's will be taken to Arlington, Virginia, for burial next to his brothers.