Taps, Rifle Salute Planned for Kennedy Burial

Kennedy to be buried near JFK, RFK

Saturday, Aug 29, 2009  |  Updated 10:50 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON -- With a bugler playing taps, a rifle squad firing a salute and pallbearers representing each branch of the military, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will be laid to rest in a private funeral at Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday.

Plans call for Kennedy to be buried in early evening near his slain brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The ceremony will be closed to the public but covered by a press pool at the hillside cemetery for military heroes and other figures from American history.

Some details of Saturday's burial have yet to be decided, said Col. Daniel Baggio, chief of staff for the U.S. Army Military District of Washington at Fort McNair.

A traditional ceremony for a member of Congress would include joint pallbearers to carry the flag-draped casket from the hearse to the grave site; that is, eight service members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, Baggio said. A seven-member rifle squad will also fire three volleys in salute.

Among its responsibilities, the military district has ceremonial duties in the capital, performed by the Army's 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment or "The Old Guard."

If the Kennedy family chooses to have a graveside eulogy or prayer, it would be seven members of the regiment who would perform the rifle salute at the end -- and its bugler who would play taps.

An officer from the regiment also would present the folded flag to the family. 

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