16 February 2009

Remembering Beverly...

Beverly's tragic life story of enduring love and searing loss is told briefly and sparely by Charity Vogel of the Buffalo News. And here, a small detail speaks volumes: the fact that Beverly never removed the special wedding band she received from Sean. It had been on her finger the morning of their final goodbye. And she wore it all the years since, until her final day on this earth.

Margot Eckert, talks about her sister Beverly's grit and determination in this interview for Boston's Fox affiliate. She also mournfully talks of the loss. "She was my sister," said Margot, "I went on vacations with her. I had picnics with her. That is the hole she is leaving. Those are the holes being left by the people that died."

The quiet, humble, yet warm side of Beverly emerges in the comments of Canisius High School President John Knight in this Newark, NJ Star-Ledger article by Leslie Kwoh. "I would say she was very understated," said Knight. "She didn't draw a lot of attention to herself.... She's a phenomenal person, a very warm presence, a lovely smile and a kind word for everyone."

A small number of reporters got to know Beverly through their coverage of 9-11-related stories, and they have been painting more detailed and intimate portraits in their articles than those who never met her. Beverly's many accomplishments are inspiring; her humanity and grace are deeply affecting. Peter Urban has been covering the Washington beat for the Connecticut Post, and he has written a touching column about his reaction to Beverly's loss. When he learned of Beverly's death, writes Urban, "...my stomach churned, and it was tough to fight back the tears." And in an article, Urban notes the many tributes offered by those who knew Beverly and worked with her on government reform. "She was smart, analytical, decent and indefatigable," said Betsy Hawkings, chief of staff for Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut about Beverly. In No Truer Hearts, I will present the hitherto untold story of how 9-11 family members and congressional staffers formed a powerful and mutually supportive alliance which was able to overcome strong opposition from other members of Congress, the White House, and government agencies.

Beverly's husband, Sean Rooney, graduated from Canisius High School in 1969. In 2002, Beverly had established a scholarship in Sean's memory to give an opportunity for a student with potential who has financial need. More details about this aspect of Beverly's efforts appear on the page "Canisius Remembers Beverly Eckert."

And finally, (for today, at least) I will mention with mixed feelings the new Wikipedia article about Beverly. It is, like most Wikipedia articles, poorly written, unevenly sourced, and just factual enough to convince the reader that the whole thing is accurate. At some point, I will write a proper summary of Beverly's life, most likely on the forthcoming web page for No Truer Hearts

No comments: