28 March 2017

Beverly Eckert's voice, sometimes hoarse from overwork, was always heard

Beverly Eckert was many things. After 9/11 she became an activist, an organizer, a leader, a spokesperson, a lobbyist, a builder of memorials and a conscience for the country. Sometimes her audience was worldwide, televised and spread through all manner of other media. Other times her message was delivered one-on-one.

In September 2004, Beverly was in Washington, DC to lobbying on behalf of intelligence reform bills that grew out of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. She shared a taxi with a stranger during the visit, and she told him about her work, her voice hoarse from all the speaking she was doing. A day later, the stranger sent Beverly an email.

Last night we just met in a shared cab in DC. You are the first victim of 911 that I have ever met. Living in Seattle and being untouched by that horrible day insulated me from the pain you have suffered and prevented me from understanding the urgency you feel about putting changes in place as soon as possible.
I am very sorry for your loss and grateful for the effort you are putting forth the make this country safer for me and my family. Just wanted to say thanks... Godspeed. (And give that voice a rest!!!)

For many Americans, 9/11 was not of immediate concern, the need for reforms an abstraction. Beverly and the other family members made the tragedy real. Their message resonated around the world, and it made a difference in the end.

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