U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy for Senator Ted Kennedy Saturday, honoring one of his mentors not only as a political champion, but as a man of personal fortitude and compassion.
Speaking at a Catholic service in Boston, in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts, Mr. Obama said Kennedy became the "greatest legislator of our time" by seeking compromise. He also praised his "spirit of resilience" which allowed him to overcome pain and tragedy, and his much-publicized personal failings.
Kennedy was the patriarch of America's most famous political family, and his funeral drew many members of the Washington elite.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush attended, with more than 60 current and former U.S. Senators.
Kennedy's casket is being flown to Washington, DC, to be driven by motorcade past the U.S. Capitol, before proceeding to Arlington National Cemetery. He is to be buried there near the graves of his assassinated brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy.
Edward "Ted" Kennedy died Tuesday at the age of 77 from brain cancer.
Serving for 47 years as a Democrat in the Senate, Kennedy was known as the "liberal lion", taking positions that often angered his conservative counterparts. But lawmakers who worked with him have praised his ability to reach across party lines on important issues like civil rights, health care and education.
His funeral follows several days of memorials during which Kennedy's fellow Democrats, along with Republicans united in paying him tribute.
Former political foe and personal friend, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said he had battled Kennedy for 33 years, and "enjoyed every minute of it.
Friday night, Vice President Joe Biden said Kennedy changed the way Americans look at those who are different from them, with greater tolerance for those differences.
Tributes also have come from other world leaders, highlighting Kennedy's dedication to human rights and his work to end apartheid in South Africa.
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.