A caption on yesterday's front page transposed the identifications of the widow of Marine Cpl. Davin M. Green and his sister, Sheria Scott, who were among family members at a memorial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Green's first name also was misspelled.
Elizabeth Reininger, 1 1/2, toddled around the new milk-white headstone on the hillside in Arlington National Cemetery yesterday and yanked the petals from a pink rose. Her mother Laura, 28, stared at the stone, freshly inscribed with her brother's name:
"James Chandonnet Knipple. Cpl. U.S. Marine Corps, Lebanon. November 9, 1962. October 23, 1983."
Then she looked up and down the line of headstones. Next to some, tiny American flags flapped in the morning breeze. In front of others, clusters of people knelt to place flowers on the grass. "They're all parents," Laura Reininger said. "They all hurt like the rest of us."
Many families of victims of terrorism -- some whose sons and fathers were among the 241 Americans killed in the attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut a year ago yesterday and those killed elsewhere -- gathered at Arlington under overcast skies. They came to share their hurt, their anger and their grief.
Throughout a ceremony of prayers and songs conducted mostly by children, the families wept and embraced, fingered purple commemorative ribbons and clutched photographs of young men in uniform. Many drifted away from the crowd of more than 1,000 to stare soberly at the crisp, sharp letters on the headstones.
No government officials spoke at the ceremony and a similar ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the base of many of the marines killed in Beirut, also was simple.
President Reagan, campaigning on the West Coast, did not mention the Beirut bombing yesterday. But he cited another event of a year ago -- the American invasion in Grenada -- as an example of his administration's foreign policy successes. Reagan will host a White House ceremony today marking the anniversary of the Caribbean action.
At Arlington yesterday, some people stretched on tiptoe to snap photographs or pressed tape recorders close to the loudspeakers, trying to catch the prayers and songs. Foreign children, many dressed in native costume, offered the prayers of six religions and dedicated a Lebanon Cedar tree to honor the victims of terrorism.
There were the emotions -- anger, bitterness, grief -- of families who had never met, strangers from around the country. "It's sort of like a support, being here and seeing so many people who are doing so well," said Stephen Jenkins, 25, whose 19-year-old brother was killed in the attack on the Marine barracks. "Not 'doing well,' necessarily. I mean, they're here. I mean, they're coping."
Miles Keogh of Falls Church, whose father, Foreign Service Officer Dennis W. Keogh, was killed in Namibia April 15, stood behind the tangle of microphones with his twin sisters. "The stone from my father's grave has just arrived two days ago and I am proud to know he is buried right over there behind the special tree," he said.
Lee Myung-Ho, a South Korean whose father was killed Oct. 9, 1983, said, "I believe all of us desire to see the day when no man will wish to take the life of another. When such a day arrives, we can all look back and tell ourselves the beginning was here."
The ceremony, "A Time of Remembrance," was sponsored by No Greater Love, a national, nonprofit group formed in 1971 to give support to the children of soldiers who were missing, killed or prisoners of war in Southeast Asia.
After the Beirut attack last year, the Knipple family of Northern Virginia was one of the first to be contacted by No Greater Love. James Knipple was 20 when he was killed. Yesterday his father, John, addressed his words to other parents. "To the families, the children of those who died, their passing leaves a void that neither time nor praise can ever fill."
Laura Reininger stood away from the crowd and wiped tears from her face as she listened to her father speak about her brother, James. "We buried him on his 21st birthday," she said. "It took three weeks to figure out who he was."
Reininger said a year's time has not dulled her grief. "We think about Jim every day. We're going to think about him every day for the rest of our lives."
Marian DiGiovanni of Philadelphia, her face puffy with tears, talked about her brother, Cpl. Louis Rotondo, who also was killed in the Beirut attack. "I am very proud that an organization like this thought enough of our boys to dedicate a tree . . . . " Her voice broke, and she walked over to comfort her father, who sobbed openly.
Some families were angry. Jacqueline Thompson, whose son, Cpl. Dennis Thompson, was killed last Oct. 23, said she is bitter that the marines "weren't able to defend themselves. He was there to keep the peace. Someone was supposed to look out for him."