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At Metro Headquarters, a Somber Service

Area clergy including Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl led a vigil early this afternoon outside Metro's downtown headquarters at the Jackson Graham Building.

"A tragedy of this magnitude touched each one of us," said Wuerl, who led the crowd in a prayer.

A woman read Psalm 23 from the podium. ("The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want...") A black cloth covered the Metro symbol outside the building.

"My heart and soul goes out to those who lost their lives in this tragic accident," said Metro General Manager John Catoe. "I especially want to pause for a moment to remember one of our own. We need to pull together to get through this."

One of the known dead was Metro operator Jeanice McMillan, 42, of Springfield.

Kim Dudley, an administrative assistant with Metro, cried quietly outside company headquarters. Around her, dozens stood quietly, heads bowed, in the blazing noonday sun.

"It's quiet," said Dudley. "It's sad. There are so many worries. They were just on their way home. We know how much time we've used, but we don't know how much time we have."

Metro employee Gwendolyn Coleman cried as a friend put an arm aound her. "I'm hurting," she said.

The tragedy is compounded because of the everday nature of a train ride, said Phillip Barrett Jr., a vendor relations representative. "It's a common bond," Barrett said. "Everybody at some point uses Metro. Everybody was going about their everyday routine. Then this happened."

-- Maria Glod

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 23, 2009; 2:02 PM ET
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Dear Metro Staff - my thoughts and prayers are with you today during this very sad time.
Thanks for all you do!

Posted by: GroovyGal | June 23, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Dear Metro family I am deepely saden of the tragedy that has occured. my prayers and thoughts is with each and everyone that has been affected.thanks for the great job that each and everyone of you do each and everyday,ensuring the safety and kindness that you show to the passengers.Godbless you all

Posted by: ozetmt262 | June 23, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Having anti-gay bigot Catholic Archbishop Donald Wuerl at this event only adds to the pain of the deaths from the train accident. Couldn't they find a neo-nazi or a kkk member? This bigot's presence at this memorial only caused more pain.

Posted by: marksquarepants | June 24, 2009 3:23 AM | Report abuse

I find the comment above about the Archbishop of Washington to be offensive and not appropriate for the forum in which others are expressing sympathy for this tragedy. I also express my sympathy to the families of those who died.

Posted by: rf49 | June 24, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Deep condolences to Metro staff, my Local 689 sisters and brothers, and especially the family of Janice McMillan. I left D.C. in 2003, but feel your pain across time and distance. Thanks to Earl Beatty, who works tirelessly to resolve safety issues on behalf of all operators.

Posted by: elgropo1 | June 25, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

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