Army Lt. Richard Miller was 37, a program analyst with the Defense Logistics Agency, when he died in the crash. In the last year, his widow Barbara has grieved as a wife severed from a husband of 13 years and as a mother who feels that fate cheated her two young children out of a father.
She still finds it too painful to read articles on the crash in the dozens of newspapers she keeps stacked beside her bed. And home movies starring her ham of a husband are too rending to watch. "I can sit here at the kitchen table," she says, "see the front door open, and see him walking in."
But for the sake of Brian and Jennifer, her 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, she tends the memory of her husband so her children will "know what they had in the short time they had it."
Young as they are, Brian and Jennifer have felt their father's death in unmistakable ways, she says: "Only this fall has Brian begun to grasp the concept of death. I couldn't go anywhere without him at first. He'd say, 'You won't come back either, like Daddy.'
"Jennifer understood but didn't know how to react. She brings home pictures she's drawn in school. In every picture, she's got a gravestone, the three of us standing around it with tears and the sun with a frowning face instead of a smile."
After the crash, Barbara had a photograph of Richard, Jennifer and Brian blown up and mounted over the fireplace of their home in Burke, where she has stayed on. Whenever possible she talks about old times, hoping to convey to her children a lasting sense of the man their father was. Richard Miller won a Purple Heart in Vietnam. He lies now in Arlington National Cemetery. His memory does live on in the Burnside Landing community, not least as the man who played the Hulk with dozens of kids in weekend games of hide and seek.
Today his neighbors will set several hundred Mexican candles along the streets to commemorate his life on the anniversary of his death.