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Hundreds line up at Sen. Edward Kennedy's grave

The longtime Democratic senator from Massachusetts lies near his two slain brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

August 31, 2009|Dagny Salas | Salas writes for the Washington Post.

ARLINGTON, VA. — Joan Waxman happened to be in the nation's capital on an elementary school trip that week in 1963 when John F. Kennedy was buried. She was in town for a wedding when former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died.

This weekend, as the body of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Waxman, 53, and her husband, Howard, were moving their son in for his junior year at George Washington University. Before heading back to New Jersey, they decided to pay their respects to the last of the fabled Kennedy brothers after watching his funeral cortege on Saturday.

"It was pretty emotional," Joan Waxman said. "It's the end of a dynasty. They really are, in some sense, American royalty."

The Waxmans were among several hundred people who stood in line in Sunday's hot sun to visit the grave of Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who died last week after a 15-month battle with brain cancer.

The longtime senator was buried Saturday just after sunset near his two slain brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The line snaked down a path as people fanned themselves, shaded their eyes and stood on their toes to snap photos of the site.

Arlington had been closed to the public for Kennedy's burial, which was attended by family members and a few close friends. When the cemetery opened at 8 a.m. Sunday, a small group of people was already waiting. By 11 a.m., the line had swelled to more than 100.

Jason and Tina Middaugh of Syracuse, N.Y., were in Washington vacationing with family as ceremonies for Kennedy were taking place. Self-proclaimed history nerds, the couple have traveled all over the country visiting presidential grave sites. Even though Edward Kennedy did not become president, they still wanted to see his grave.

"My mom told stories of John F. Kennedy and where she was when that happened, so we actively made it a point to visit [Edward Kennedy's] grave," Jason Middaugh said. "It is right to pay tribute."

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