LESLIE G. SHERMAN, 20:
A sophomore and history major from Springfield, Virginia, was a tomboy who loved running, history, foreign languages and to make others laugh, said Deepika R. Chadive, 19, a fellow sophomore who played basketball with Sherman when both were students at West Springfield High School.
“She was very spirited,” Chadive said. “She was always very enthusiastic. Even if we were down 50 points, she would always give us a pat on the back.”
Sherman, who was passionate about studying history even as a high school student, often took some ribbing from her friends because of her interest in the subject, Chadive said.
“`We used to tell her, `It's illegal to love history as much as you do,” she said. She said Sherman had talked of someday becoming a historian.
The service for Leslie Sherman at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Old Town Alexandria was packed with mourners. After the ceremony, the sophomore Virginia Tech student and West Springfield High grad was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Sherman's parents, Holly and Anthony Sherman, are both armed forces veterans, and, when they pass on, will be buried next to their daughter.
Sherman is also survived by her sister, Lisa, grandparents and extended family.
Sherman, an honor student who aspired to become an historian, was one of 32 students and teachers killed by a fellow Virginia Tech student on Monday morning, April 16, 2007.
Friends described her as a dedicated student and athlete, excelling in basketball and track as well as all of her courses in school. Sherman was the co-president of her school National Honor Society chapter.
She also gave time to community service, traveling to New Orleans last Thanksgiving to assist the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding effort. At Virginia Tech, she worked more than 20 hours a week as a dining hall supervisor on campus.
In addition to studying French at Virginia Tech, Sherman took a course in Russian and was planning to travel to Moscow for three weeks this summer and in the spring semester.
“It is altogether fitting that we grieve for Leslie and all the other students and professors that lost their lives that moment that can only be described as sheer madness,” Rev. Dr. Robert Laha said at the service.
“We grieve over the loss of opportunity they [the victims] might have had to do even greater things had they had the chance,” Laha added.
Jim Percoco, one of Sherman's history teachers at West Springfield, said of her, “She was a top-flight student. She was great. She was plugged in right and she got everything. She was an amazing student for someone so young.”
Dr. David Smith, West Springfield principal, said Sherman was a remarkable young woman.
“She was smart and talented,” Smith said. “She was not the best athlete on the track, but worked her butt off to be in the top five in her sport. And that took a lot of guts.”
In the service, Rev. Ann Herlin prayed, saying, “We thank you for the incredible fullness she [Leslie] packed into her 20 short years. We thank you for her kindness, her generosity, her enthusiasm and her passion for living.”
The Sherman family has asked that memorial gifts be sent to the Leslie Sherman Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o the West Springfield High School finance office, 6100 Rolling Road, Springfield, Virginia 22152.
A funeral procession Wednesday led the body of a 20-year-old Virginia Tech shooting victim and American history buff past views of the Washington monuments she loved on the way to her burial, fittingly, at Arlington National Cemetery.
A large wreath in the shape of the Virginia Tech logo was placed at Leslie Sherman's grave. Sherman, a history and international studies double major, died when a student gunman killed 32 people and himself April 16, 2007.
One white rose adorns the hearse carrying the body of Leslie Sherman in Alexandria, Va., after her funeral ceremony on Wednesday, April 25, 2007. Sherman was one of 32 people killed by Seung-Hui Cho at Virginia Tech on April 16, in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“In many ways, she accomplished more in her 20 years than most of us do in a lifetime,” said the Rev. Dr. Robert Laha Jr., who led a simple service at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in historic Old Town Alexandria. About 500 people mourned the Springfield resident in the sun-filled church.
Sherman was able to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery because her mother is a veteran and her father is in the reserves, said Kara McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the Cemetery.
Even in high school she was interested in history. She interned at Frying Pan Farm Park, teaching visitors about its social history as part of a history class.
Brian Lees, who also lived in Springfield before moving to Texas for college, was in the class with Sherman and remembered the fun they had while interning at the farm, recalling how he and Sherman nicknamed a cow after one of their professors.
“She was just a joy to be around, always happy,” Lees said outside the church. He wanted people to remember his friend “for her spirit, her joyful nature.”
After the funeral, Sherman's classmates remembered her love of Washington's monuments. The hearse carrying Sherman's body drove past views of the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and the Washington Monument can be seen from her gravesite.
Also Wednesday, 20-year-old Lauren McCain was remembered in a funeral service in Shawnee, Oklahoma, as a devout Christian dedicated to spreading her faith.
About 250 relatives and friends turned out at the Aydelotte Baptist Church for the funeral. Her body lay in a casket surrounded by flowers, photos of the young woman and the seal of Virginia Tech.
McCain was born in Midwest City and spent several years of her childhood in McLoud before her father's Navy career took the family out of state. Her parents wanted her buried in Oklahoma because several family members live in the area.
Jill Anderson, who taught Sunday school at the church, said she remembered McCain as cheerful and smiling.
“She joined right in the class with participation,” Anderson said. “We're just really sad to lose her. To be so young and to have such a love for the Lord and not be ashamed of it.”
Navy Chaplain G.W. Felder recalled baptizing McCain in the ocean when her father was stationed in Florida. Felder does not know how to swim and recalled being nervous in the water.
“She gave me some words of encouragement and said it would be all right,” he said.
2 Pallbearers carry Leslie Sherman's casket after her funeral in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday, April 25, 2007
- SHERMAN, LESLIE GERALDINE
- DATE OF BIRTH: 04/09/1987
- DATE OF DEATH: 04/16/2007
- BURIED AT: SECTION 34 SITE 3366-2
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
- DAUGHTER (MINOR CHILD) OF SHERMAN, HOLLY ADAMS, LCDR, US NAVY
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard