Scores of mourners filed to the front of a small Greek Orthodox church here this morning to kiss the caskets, to make a sign of the cross, and to bid farewell to three local victims of terrorism.
Some of the more than 300 mourners rested their cheeks on the two caskets for a moment. Some reached up to touch the two photographs atop the caskets: the picture of Demetra Stylianopoulos, 52, and the picture of her daughter, Maria Klug, 25, with her 8-month-old baby Demetra, who were buried together.
The two women and the infant were killed April 2 when a bomb exploded under a seat in front of them during a flight to Athens, hurling them and another passenger through a hole in the side of the jet.
The fourth victim of that bombing, Alberto Ospina, was buried earlier in the day after 300 people attended services in Stratford, Conn.
Authorities are still investigating the bombing, but speculation has centered around a Lebanese woman who had sat in Ospina's seat earlier in the day.
The fear of such terrorism was addressed at the funeral here today by the Metropolitan Silas, the second highest Greek Orthodox prelate in North America, who came from New Jersey to officiate at the service.
"How long will Cain be killing Abel?" he demanded as he spoke to the packed church of St. Constantine and St. Helen here. "In terrorism no problems are solved, as the seeds of hate and malice are sown in the hearts of man, further separating one from the other. In the name of humanity, we decry this sickness in our world . . . ."
The Rev. George Gallos, who officiated at Maria Klug's wedding and baptized the baby Demetra, and who last year buried Demetra Stylianopoulos' husband Andreas, also spoke at the funeral. He called the terrorist action "a modern Greek tragedy, where we are not only the audience but the actors."
Warren L. Klug Jr., Maria's 23-year-old husband, sat in the front pew staring at the silver coffin that held his wife and daughter. He clutched his daughter's tiny pajamas; friends said he has held them since he claimed the bodies and their belongings in Greece.
On the other side of the church sat Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (R-Md.), whose parents were Greek immigrants. He delivered a brief eulogy on behalf of the Greek community. Also present were Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes, Reps. Marjorie S. Holt (R-Md.) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), and many local officials and representatives from the Greek Embassy in Washington.
The small church was crowded with about 300 people, many standing in the aisles and outside. The church doors were left open to the morning sunshine, and around about 25 people, for whom there was no room inside, listened on the steps. Many in the crowd wept as the flower-strewn caskets were brought in, as priests swung incense burners over and around them, and, at the end of the service, as members of the congregation stepped up to touch the caskets and say a final prayer.
After the caskets were placed in two hearses outside the church, Warren Klug spoke briefly to reporters. He said he and his sister-in-law, Kathy Stylianopoulos, have established the Argos Fund to help poor children in the Argos area, where a shepherd discovered the bodies.
"Our personal tragedy is also an American tragedy," said Klug. "We are grateful that more people were not hurt by this crime."
He said Maria and her mother were proud to become Americans, "and now our family has been murdered because they were Americans." Terrorists "have succeeded in devastating our family," but they will never succeed in destroying America, he said.
The bodies were buried soon afterward at the small Greek Orthodox cemetery here. The family then went to Fred's Restaurant nearby for the traditional Greek funeral meal of fish and wine, with which to toast the memory of the dead and the lives of the living.