- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 27, 2001

Postal workers yesterday remembered Thomas Morris Jr. as a "true soldier for the post office and for America," the first of two postal workers to die from anthrax inhalation this week.
Hundreds of mourners filled Kendall Baptist Church in Temple Hills for a private funeral ceremony to honor Mr. Morris, an employee at the Brentwood postal sorting center, who died Sunday night at the Greater Southeast Community Hospital. D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Postmaster General John E. Potter joined the mourners.
Mr. Morris, 55, of Suitland, is believed to have handled a letter containing spores of the bacteria that was found Oct. 9 in the office of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat.
After the service, one mourner described the 32-year postal employee as "a fine man."
He was an avid bowler, known to friends as "Moe." Members of Mr. Morris' bowling league recalled how they won four games last week just five days before Mr. Morris died.
"He would do anything for you," a fellow postal worker said.
Some mourners were angry and frustrated and said things might have been different if anthrax testing had started earlier, referring to the delay between the time an anthrax-laced letter was discovered at Mr. Daschle's office and the closing of the Brentwood facility that handled it.
The first tests of Brentwood workers began Oct 21.
"It's just hard to believe this happened," one mourner said. "It shouldn't have happened."
William Burrus, president-elect of the American Postal Workers Union, agreed, but urged postal workers not to misplace their anger.
"He was one of our brothers and he should not have died," Mr. Burrus said. "At this time I know it's inviting for postal workers to place blame on somebody else. If there is blame to be placed, it should be on the terrorists themselves."
President Bush lauded Mr. Morris yesterday during a White House ceremony at which he signed his anti-terrorism bill into law.
"Our country is grateful for the courage the Postal Service has shown during these difficult times," he said. "We mourn the loss of the lives of Thomas Morris and Joseph Curseen, postal workers who died in the line of duty, and our prayers go to their loved ones."
Mr. Curseen, 47, of Clinton, also worked at Brentwood and died from inhalation anthrax early Monday morning.
Mr. Curseen will be buried tomorrow.
During yesterday's service, the choir was to sing "I must tell Jesus," and "Through it all." Pastor Lamont S. Jones was scheduled to speak along with Mr. Morris' son.
During the service, which lasted about an hour and a half, church workers stood watch at the driveways, enforcing a family request for privacy.
According to a memorial pamphlet handed out at the funeral, Mr. Morris was the first of three children born to Thomas Lee Earl Morris and Eva Morris. He graduated from the D.C. public school system and married Mary Morris in May 1990.
Mr. Morris is survived by his wife, a son and two stepchildren.
Mr. Morris, an Air Force veteran, was scheduled to be buried at the Maryland National Veterans Cemetery.
This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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