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Washingtonians Say Goodbye
Story by Retha Hill
Photos by Reginald Pearman Jr. and Craig Cola
Washingtonpost.com Staff
Saturday, September 6, 1997

Linda Pape of Newport News, Va., was first in line for the service at the Washington National Cathedral. She drove in to Washington and arrived at 3:45 a.m.:

    Linda Pape
    "I just wanted to be with other Americans who wanted to pay their respects to Princess Diana. I respected her and admired her -- the way she reached out to others, children with AIDS, people with leprosy, people in Bosnia. I was very touched by her gift of reaching out to people. I thought she was very much today's person."

Jenny White, of Bethesda, arrived at the cathedral at 9:30 a.m.:

    Jenny White
    "I just felt I needed to pay my respects to a lady who showed the world a great deal of dignity and grace," she said. White watched the funeral on television before she arrived. "I thought it was gut wrenching when her brother spoke. I cried the entire time. When Elton John sang, it was rough."

Marion Bryce, of Hyattsville, is originally from Wales:

    Marion Bryce
    "I support the royal family 100 percent," she said. "In a similar situation, I think I would want privacy. It's too easy to judge quickly if you're not in a similar situation yourself. It's a terrible situation. I'm sorry it happened. The royal family has had so many difficulties in the last few years, I doubt many of us could have handled it as well as they have."

Ryan Velasco, 17, came with girlfriend Emily Krause, 17, both from Sterling, Va.:

    Emily Krause and Ryan Velasco
    "We are both admirers of Princess Diana because of the charity work she was involved in. If you look at other members of the royal family, they seem pretty cold. But Diana seemed like she had a lot to give to the people of England and the world.... Princess Diana served as a role model, not just for females in this society.... Everyone can learn from her example."

LaVonda Bailey, of Upper Marlboro, Md., went to the British embassy to sign the condolence book at 7 a.m., then headed for the cathedral:

    LaVonda Bailey
    "I think today is a very historical day, because we have lost a wonderful woman. The world is affected by that. I admire the way she was able to hold her head up after they basically rejected her, the royal family. I never really met her but I felt I knew her -- the way she wasn't afraid to help people. She wasn't standoffish."

After the service, everyone was full of praise. Said Margaret Schaffer, of Baltimore:

    Margaret Schaffer

    "I thought it was lovely. Anything we can do now to remember her and ease our own pain is important.... I wanted to be among people who cared about her."

Steve Coleman, of Washington, said:
    "I thought it was beautiful. It was fitting, having the grace and simplicty she showed in her life."
Said Susan Aldrich, of Washington:
    Steve Colman and Susan Aldrich
    "I was touched by the sheer number of people who came out and paid their respects.... She meant something special and that was reflected in the readings and songs they chose. I got a sense of the joy people had of her life and the sadness of her death."

© Copyright 1997 Digital Ink Company

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