Lt. Col Charles R. Ray, the U.S. assistant military attache killed by an assassin's bullet in Paris Monday, was described at his funeral yesterday as "a victim of the dark forces in this world."
The service at St. Bernadette's Roman Catholic Church in Springfield preceded burial with military honors in Arlington Cemetery.
The characterization of Ray as "a victim of dark forces" was made by the Rev. Keith R. Ramey, a family friend and former pastor at St. Bernadette's. To a filled church he said Ray's death served as a "severe warning of organized powers that threaten life at its very root. We pray for the perpetrators . . . We are numbed by the events of this past year." He went on to mention the recent abduction of Brig. Gen. James Dozier in Italy and the assassination attempts on President Reagan and Pope John Paul II.
Ray, 43, was one of four assistant military attaches at the U.S. Embassy in Paris and had been in France for 18 months. He was shot to death about 9 a.m. Monday as he left his apartment near the Bois de Boulogne on his way to work. A group calling itself the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Faction has claimed responsibility for the attack. No suspects have been apprehended.
Fr. Ramey said of Ray: "We, his friends, knew him . . . and that's why we can't believe that anyone would want to snuff out the life of this good man."
Ray, trained in military intelligence, was stationed in the Washington area for more than a decade during his Army career. When he left for Paris in 1980 he rented his Northern Virginia home, reportedly planning to return. His wife Sharon, daughter Julie, 17, and son Mark, 15, as well as other relatives including his parents, were present at yesterday's services.
They were joined by about 70 friends and former colleagues plus military and diplomatic officials at a brief graveside service. Those attending including U.S. Ambassador to France Evan Galbraith, who accompanied Ray's body from Paris to Washington; Gen. Edward C. Meyer, Army chief of staff; Army Secretary John O. Marsh, and President Reagan's Army military aide, Lt. Col. Jose Muratti.
There were also two French military officers. One of the wreaths placed by the casket was wrapped in the Tricolor and bore the words, "Le Chef d'Etat Maior des Forces Francaises."