Aug. 27, 2009— -- Amid thousands of mourners, a military honor guard carried the body of Sen. Ted Kennedy into the Boston library named for his slain brother Thursday evening, where he will lie in repose for the next two days.
Led by his widow Vicki, Kennedy family members followed the casket into the John F. Kennedy Library, where they spent a few private moments alone before the public could enter the building to pay their respects.
Kennedy's body was escorted to Boston by a motorcade of family members that left his seaside home in Hyannis Port this afternoon. A long black column of limousines filled with three generations of Kennedys followed the hearse carrying the flag-draped coffin for the three-hour drive from Hyannis Port.
As the motorcade arrived in Boston, thousands of mourners lined the route and cars pulled over to watch the passing hearse.
Boston residents applauded as the cortege wound its way through the center of the city.
The motorcade left for Boston following a private family mass held in a room overlooking the ocean. Reporters and neighbors lined the streets outside the home's white picket fence. A flag flew at half-staff in the center of a circular driveway and a military honor guard placed Kennedy's casket into the hearse.
The Kennedy family, including his wife Vicki, stood quietly watching the casket placed in the hearse. Some family members wiped away tears from their eyes.
Today's motorcade journey set off three days of official ceremonies to mourn the passing of the senator whose career was marked by scandal and triumph during his 47 years in the Senate.
Kennedy's body will lie in repose at the John F. Kennedy Library through Saturday, where civilian and military honor guards will join family members and friends for an around-the-clock vigil. On Saturday, a funeral mass will be held at a Catholic church in Boston where he will be eulogized by President Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain.
ABC News will provide live coverage of Saturday's funeral beginning at 10:30am ET.
Following the funeral, his body will again be moved and buried steps away from his slain brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
"That's what we're going to do in the next few days is celebrate his life," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a longtime colleague and family friend. "It's a remarkable life."
The motorcade's ride through Boston was a fitting homecoming for a man whose family's legacy is marked on monuments all over the city.
The motorcade passed several of those monuments beginning with St. Stephen's Church where his mother, Rose, was baptized and her funeral was held.
On Saturday, Obama will interrupt his vacation to attend the funeral at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica and give the eulogy. Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are all expected to attend.
Kennedy's wife Vicki asked Sen. John McCain, a Republican who often clashed with Kennedy in Senate debates, to speak at the funeral.
McCain told "Good Morning America" today that while Kennedy fought fiercely for his causes, there was never any personal rancor when the debate was over.
"Many times there was no need for the microphone system. We all heard him very clearly," McCain said. "As soon as his passion was subsided, which would be after he finished speaking, he returned to the gregarious and friendly individual that he was. Ted Kennedy's word was his bond ... that's not as true as some might believe about the United States Senate."
The GOP's 2008 presidential nominee said Kennedy, who lost a bid for the presidential nomination in 1980, consoled him after his loss to Obama. "He told me he knew what I had been through ... thought that I had fought an honorable campaign," McCain said.