On Friday, May 4th, Barbara Reioux, Patty Ryan and Mette Beecroft attended a Memorial Service for Philip Dorman, Lesley Dorman’s husband of well over 60 years. (Lesley was an AAFSW member for fifty years and served as its president for a record five years.) The first part of the service was held in the chapel at Fort Myer which is somewhat reminiscent of a New England church-on-the-green. Tim Dorman, one of two Dorman sons, eulogized his father in heartfelt remarks which showed clearly his deep admiration and love of his father. The eulogy paid tribute to Philip’s long life of service, which included serving as an officer during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, as a Foreign Service officer assigned to mostly Middle Eastern and African posts, and as a National Arbitrator after he retired.
After the service in the chapel, Philip Dorman received full military honors. For about five minutes, we drove slowly and quietly through Arlington National Cemetery to the Columbarium. The military musicians who had been outside the chapel walked with the funeral cortege while some of us drove. There was a caisson drawn by six matched bay horses some of which were riderless—as is the custom. There was also an honor guard some of whom fired a six-gun salute. We sat in a pavilion while the flag which had draped the caisson was meticulously folded and presented to Tim and his fiancée, Suzanne.
We then walked over to the Columbarium to see Phillip’s urn placed beside Lesley’s. A surprise aspect of the ceremony was the presence of a person who is known as an “Arlington Lady.” It is their job gently to show people where to sit, where to stand and when to move. The tradition of “the Arlington Lady” apparently goes far back. It is always a military spouse and it is a great honor to become one.
We were especially glad that we attended the Memorial Service because we actually had the opportunity to talk with Tim and Suzanne at some length. The whole ceremony was carried out to perfection with great respect for family members. Most important, the family was very pleased with these final rites.
AAFSW State Liaison