A Grand Farewell for Katharine Graham

ByNancy Benac

W A S H I N G T O N, July 23, 2001 -- Thousands paid tribute today to KatharineGraham, remembering her as a gallant lady who remained steadfast asshe guided The Washington Post through turbulence and extraordinarygrowth.

Graham's power and influence were on display in theWashington National Cathedral, where former President Clinton andVice President Dick Cheney shared a pew with their wives. Senatorsleft the Capitol together in a blue-and-white striped bus to attendthe funeral.

Despite her power in Washington circles, former Secretary ofState Henry Kissinger recalled, she remained "matter of factlyloyal to her friends and deeply devoted to her family."

Kissinger wove his personal tales of friendship with tributes toher contributions to journalism and her fierce defense of the FirstAmendment. Their friendship grew despite the fact that the Postunder her stewardship often was a relentless critic of theadministrations in which he served, he said.

"This paradox was overwhelmed by the admiration and affection Ifelt for Kay as a person," Kissinger said, recalling how Graham once took him out to the movies because he looked weary fromdealing with the Vietnam War.

‘The Enduring Legacy of a Gallant Lady’

Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., another close friend, alsoeulogized her. "Katharine Graham was a very gallant lady. She willleave an enduring mark on the nation's capital and the irreverentpress."

Bill Graham, one of the publisher's son, opened the funeral byreading from the Book of Revelation, and the congregation followedby reading aloud from Psalm 23.

Led by former Sen. John Danforth, an Episcopal priest, and otherpriests, Graham's casket was carried in by former DefenseSecretary Robert McNamara, lawyer Vernon Jordan and broadcastexecutive Barry Diller, among others.

Ben Bradlee, Graham's former executive editor, also waspaid tribute. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performed "Sarabande" from Bach's"6th Cello Suite."

Graham, a trailblazer among women in business andjournalism, also was honored by those who followed her, televisionnews anchors Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, who served asushers. Graham died Tuesday at 84.

As prominent as she was on the national stage, Grahamremained closely linked with the issues and personalities in theDistrict of Columbia. Two former Washington mayors, HaroldWashington and Marion Barry, as well as the city's top policeofficials, attended.

"She's one of the leading people in the 20th century," MayorAnthony Williams told CNN on the steps of the church, "and we'revery, very proud to have called her our own."

Watergate and the Pentagon Papers

Bradlee, whose hiring at the Post was one of Graham's mostadmired moves, wrote in his memoir that when she gave the go-aheadin 1971 to publish the Pentagon Papers despite governmentobjections, "it crystallized for editors and reporters everywherehow independent and determined and confident of its purpose the newWashington Post had become."

Graham was "the premier American publisher. She got testedmore than most of them, and she stood up with such bravery,"Bradlee said Sunday.

Kissinger developed a lasting friendship with Graham thatflourished even through the Watergate investigation, when Kissingerwas President Nixon's ally and the Post was leading the way ininvestigating the scandal.

In her Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, published in 1997, Graham recalled that Kissinger "didn't seem to suffer within theadministration even though he went on coming to my house — but notto the Post — during Watergate."

Schlesinger, too, was a longtime friend of Graham's.

Bill Gates, Alan Greenspan Attend

The list of notables attending the funeral read like thehigh-powered guest lists of those who frequented Graham'sdinner parties. Among those attending were Federal Reserve ChairmanAlan Greenspan, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg andStephen Breyer, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who was an usher, theater producer Mike Nichols andinvestor Warren Buffett.

Among the mediarepresentatives were Associated Press chief executive Louis D.Boccardi and Donald Newhouse, chairman of the AP board.

Graham, who served as chairman of The Washington Post Co.for two decades, died Tuesday, three days after suffering a headinjury in a fall outside a condominium in Sun Valley, Idaho. Aprivate burial was planned at Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington.

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