The memorial service yesterday for former Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt, his co-worker at the Institute for Policy Studies, was described in news releases as a public event, but it became a private affair as about 350 mourners simply shared their joy in having known Moffitt and Letelier, and their anger and frustration over the bombing that killed them last Sept. 21.
Isabel Letelier was introduced to the congregation gathered in Holy Trinity Church on 36th Street in Georgetown. But the introduction was unnecessary.
Those attending the service knew the widow of the internationally known diplomat who was forced to flee Chile following the fall of the late Salvador Allende's socialist government.
They knew of what she spoke when she said, "We have made it a year lonely, oh, so lonely . . . September weighs on us the month on your grave stone."
When Marcus Raskin, director of the left-wing think tank where Moffit and Letelier worked, said "they come to us in their dreams," and then struggled to hold back the tears of a year's grief, the other mourners also too struggled.
Almost a dozen of the mourners accepted an invitation to step to the lecturn to share their thoughts and memories of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt. None of them introduced themselves, but that id not matter. They were among friends.
They knew what the Jewish woman meant when she said "I'm going to fight on and say 'Never Again!'" in reference to the murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazis, as well as to the murder of Letelier and Moffitt.
And they knew what the father of three meant when he spoke of the difficulty of finding heroes to hold up for his three young sons, but said that Moffitt and Letelier were "people they might have as heroes."
A friend of Ronni Moffitt's spoke of sharing musical interests with her, and of what she called the music always within Moffitt. "I can't think of that being silenced," said the young woman.
"I knew Ronni well, and performed her marriage and delivered her eulogy." said Rabbi Harold White, who then told the Congregation that Ronni Moffitt's favorite poem was Robert Frost's classic. "The Road Not Taken."
"The day is short and there is much workto be done," said the rabbi.