- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2001

David Yancey's eyes lingered on the American flag neatly folded into a triangle and placed in his hands by a Navy honor guard. The flag commemorates the loss of his wife, Vicki, who was on board American Airlines Flight 77 on Sept 11.
More than 100 people ringed the courtyard outside St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Springfield, Va. yesterday, a little more than 10 miles from where terrorists crashed the hijacked plane into the Pentagon, killing 189 persons, including all 64 on the airliner.
In Virginia yesterday, memorial services were held on church altars with no caskets for three of those on board Flight 77 whose bodies have yet to be recovered.
"She wasn't even supposed to be on the … thing," Bruce Belcher, a family friend of the Yanceys, said at the service.
He described how Mrs. Yancey, 43, an employee of defense contractor Vredenburg, was bound for a business convention in Reno, Nev. The mother of two had been bumped from an earlier flight and was escorted to the gate by ticket agents just minutes before takeoff. Mr. Belcher said it took officials several hour to confirm that she had been on the plane because she wasn't listed in the original passenger manifest.
Mr. Belcher speculated that Mrs. Yancey might have been the last person to board the doomed flight.
"She only traveled once every year or two," he said, adding that she was excited about the trip.
In the lobby of the church, amid flower bouquets decorated with red, white and blue ribbons, a framed display of 17 snapshots chronicled Mrs. Yancey's life, from her stint as an electrical technician in the Navy through to the birth of her two daughters, Michelle, 18, and Carolyn, 15.
The two young women stood hand in hand with their father as the American flag, flying at half-staff in the courtyard, was raised, then lowered, and finally presented to Mr. Yancey.
Father John Hughes eulogized Mrs. Yancey as a woman who loved life, politics and, most of all, her children. But from the pulpit also came a call for justice.
"'Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done,'" Father Hughes said, quoting President Bush's address to the nation on Thursday. "It is important and necessary that these people, these terrorists, be brought to justice."
As the church choir sang "America the Beautiful," guests filed out, their eyes welled with tears, to the courtyard, where a lone Navy bugler played taps.
Nine miles away in Alexandria, at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, a separate service honored the life of Norma Steuerle, 54, a clinical psychologist and mother of two daughters who was on Flight 77 to Los Angeles as the first leg of a trip to Thailand a lifelong dream.
Hundreds crowded the church, many of them standing in the rear, to hear friends and relatives remember Mrs. Steuerle. They described her as a vivacious woman of keen intellect and deep religious conviction, generous with time and money.
"She had a zest for life," longtime friend Arthur McNeill said afterward. "They were a family of four that were totally in love with each other."
"She had a way of translating complicated ideas into words anyone, even children, could understand," one friend said. Another described Mrs. Steuerle's frequent trips from the office for coffee in an adored green Mazda Miata.
Mrs. Steuerle's eldest daughter, Kristin, 28, a Navy physician, spoke of her mother's "untiring love" and issued a call for peace, even for those suspected of plotting the attacks.
"I hope that in Mom's honor we can turn away from hatred, anger and violence," she said. She and her sister, Lynne, linked arms with their father, Eugene Steuerle, as they left the church together.
A private service also was held yesterday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Arlington to honor Mary Jane Booth, 64, who worked at the Washington Dulles International Airport. A 45-year employee of American Airlines, Mrs. Booth was secretary to the airlines' general manager at Dulles airport for more than 30 years.
Mrs. Booth was on her way to a Las Vegas meeting of the employees' credit union on board Flight 77.

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