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The Ted
Kennedy Memorial at the Kennedy Library and then the following day’s Memorial
Mass, stop at the Capitol steps and finally the burial at Arlington National Cemetery
gave a nation food for thought about this Lion of the Senate and Kennedy Family
Patriarch.

No matter
what your politics may be, you have to admit, that he become highly respected
and made a difference.

The event
producer inside me, though, took over. I put on my events hat and looked at the
proceedings

The first
thing I thought about was the tremendous communication and cooperation between
the Kennedy family, the funeral home, the Kennedy Library, the Boston and DC Police
Departments, the Secret Service, The White House and of course, the television
news folks. My hat is off to all of the planners, suppliers, and protocol folks
involved in these events.

 

As the
Senator had been in declining health for sometime, it’s possible that the
family was able to pre-arrange much of this. Who ever the person was, did an
excellent job. The eulogies were appropriate and heart warming. The protocol
with so many dignitaries and the President appeared to be very smooth. This
intertwined with the Kennedy family was very impressive.

Rather than
go over the events minute by minute, some things, come to mind as outstanding
logistics, seemingly simple. As we all know, that’s the idea. Make it look
easy.

The first
thing that comes to mind is the coordination of umbrellas on a very rainy day.
There was always a person by the charter motor coach with an umbrella as a
person descended, and then handed off to a person with an umbrella who would
escort the guest to the door of the church. Meanwhile, the same thing was continually
going on like a relay. I noticed a couple of coordinators, moving the umbrella
staffers along.

Another
noticeable bit of outstanding logistics occurred between the Military
Pallbearers who were impeccable, carrying the casket up the steps to the Church
and then to the cross aisle, placing it on wheels and the family pallbearers
took over. The military exited left.  Everything was smooth and seamless.  The unstated symbolism of turning the
Senator over to his family and his church said it all. The eulogies of Kennedy,
that followed, by his family, especially his children were beautiful and with a
bit of humor. 

Leaving the
Church was just as beautifully orchestrated as the entrance.

A few hours
went by and the TV stations were ready in Washington, DC for the procession by
the Capitol and on to Arlington Cemetery.

Here is possibly the
toughest part of all the coordination. The event participants had to get to the
airport through Boston traffic, fly form Boston to DC in the rain, be driven
from that airport and finally arrive in time for the burial at 5pm. When I
turned the television back on at 5pm, the motorcade was just getting to a stop
at the Capitol. Would love to know where, the time loss occurred. It could have
been bad weather delaying the flights out of Boston and then the same bad
weather in DC. However, I don’t know the answer.

This
portion of the wonderful series of events was delayed and put everything off
schedule. No doubt delays were expected and figured into the timing, but the
delays apparently were greater than could have been anticipated. . Never the
less, the event planners as we would expect, made this work.

By the time
they arrived at Arlington, for another beautifully choreographed event, it was
dusk. Before the burial eulogies and prayers were complete it was dark and the
television cameras could no longer catch a glimpse of the event.  The lateness was unforeseen, but in
many ways it added to the drama of the burial. The sky had gone dark.

 

 

 

 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Austin Event Planners January 10, 2010, 5:33 pm

    I agree…I was thinking the same thing. There is obviously a lot of energy that goes into a production of that nature. Coordinating an event of that nature you have to consider so many factors. All-in-all, they did a great job. Kennedy will be remembered…and so will the coordinator. Thanks for sharing this posting, Christopher

  • Pat Ahaesy January 12, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I was very impressed with the skillful and tasteful way that the funeral was planned.

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