I'm writing today because I want to fill you in on the memorial service of our distant but nonetheless fully claimed relative, Katharine Graham...

After learning in the news of Kay's death, I (as many of us probably did)  followed all the coverage on CNN the Post, the interviews with famous Post  figures, etc. I guess I wanted to glean the last available connections to such a legendary lady. At any rate, when I learned that the funeral would be  this past Monday at the National Cathedral in D.C., I decided that I needed to  be there to witness the ceremony and represent the Scmidt-Beecroft branch of  the family!

Initially it seemed a bit of a hair-brained scheme, I wasn't sure if I could even gain access to the ceremony, but I decided it would be memorable even to just be nearby. My children have developed a bit of an obsession with Watergate and anyone related to it, after seeing the movie "Dick" (education can arrive in all sorts of odd ways!), so they wanted to participate as well, and Bill managed to clear a couple days to come along too. To make the
picture complete, we booked rooms at the Watergate for the stay! Mom and Aunt Mary were very interested in joining us as well, but unfortunately the predicted heatwave and Tuesday departure of the French boys deterred them from coming.

Fortunately things worked out really well! We got in to the Watergate Sunday night (it's really lovely!) and were able to catch a cab to the Cathedral Monday morning about an hour before the ceremony and arrived shortly after the doors had been opened. While standing in line to enter, we watched all the network camera crews running around hunting for celebs, and one guy even interviewed Bill on camera (we're pretty sure that got edited from the broadcast!). There was no problem getting in, except that the Secret Service guys seemed to think Will looked a little suspect, and we even got to sit down inside.

The whole ceremony was really classy and lovely, appropriate to the woman herself. The ushers included such people as Bill Gates, Barbara Walters, Bob Woodward, etc. The first eulogist to speak was Henry Kissinger, followed by Ben Bradlee, and later three of her children. It was really interesting to listen to her family talk about her and about themselves as well, and to try and decipher in some small way these people who are connected by some thin genetic thread to ourselves. The daughter, "Lally", seems in character very much like Kay Graham herself. She was a very straightforward, yet very
gracious speaker who spoke very warmly and basically celebrated her mother's life. The son Steven seems to be much more pensive and philosophical, discussing how when Kay's mother Agnes passed away, Kay seemed to assume some of her mother's qualities, and he hoped that he might now assume some of his mother's.

Beautiful music was provided by the cathedral choir as well as a cello solo by Yo-Yo Ma! What a rare and special experience it was to sit in the National Cathedral, gazing at the amazing architecture and listening to Bach performed by the esteemed cellist! As the casket was carried out by the grandsons, the entire congregation sang the complete and very heartfelt rendition of America the Beautiful.

The entire service will certainly remain a very special memory for me, and I wish we all could have attended! Of course the best part for Liz and Will was literally rubbing elbows with Barbara Walters, Mike Wallace, etc. and chatting with Bill Bradlee on the cathedral steps, but I think they were also pretty moved and impressed that a woman we claim as our own inspired the love and respect of so many great figures.
 

Cousin Kay Sunset on the Wicomico